|Wigan Athletic 1 v 2 Leeds United|
Sunday, 4th November 2018 Kick-off 13:30
Match Report: Wigan 1-2 Leeds United - Terrific turnaround takes Whites to top
Sunday, 4th Nov 2018 17:39 by @LucasMonk_
Leeds United overturned a one-goal deficit to end Wigan’s lengthy unbeaten home run and return to the Championship’s summit on Sunday afternoon.
United trailed to Reece James’s sumptuous free kick, but emerged from the match deserved victors after Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe struck either side of half-time.
Leeds were without the services of influential defender Luke Ayling owing to an injury he sustained in last week’s febrile encounter with Nottingham Forest, and got off to the worst possible start.
Wigan began in sprightly fashion and gained a free kick in a propitious position when Liam Cooper upended Joe Garner with just five minutes elapsed.
And up stepped Chelsea loanee James to send an arching shot over a helpless white wall and beyond the desperate grasp of Bailey Peacock-Farrell to hand the Latics an early lead.
The hosts were bidding farewell to Dave Whelan after 23 years of ownership, but the party atmosphere, which James’s opener had further amplified, would not last long.
No fewer than three minutes later, Leeds levelled.
Barry Douglas displayed great acuity in finding Mateusz Klich, who had made an equally intelligent run to the byline.
The Polish international has been in scintillating goalscoring form this season, but on this occasion he was selfless in cutting back a low ball for Hernandez, who tucked the ball into the net with a cool finish with the inside of his foot.
That goal invigorated Marcelo Bielsa’s team. It injected a fresh impetus into their play that was clear and visible as they passed and probed for a second goal.
In the 19th minute, the vivacious Roofe twisted and turned on a sixpence before firing a low shot toward goal that home defender Cedric Kipre did well to block.
Former Latic Adam Forshaw was next to chance his arm. He drew an excellent fingertip save from Christian Walton with a ferocious long-range strike after his former employers conceded possession in their own half.
Pontus Jansson then headed over from Douglas’s inswinging corner as the visitors cranked up the pressure.
Excellent play on the part of Roofe and Hernandez saw the latter volley toward goal, but his effort was weak and his fellow attacker could not guide the loose ball home.
With half-time now fast approaching, Leeds thought for all the world that they had taken the lead when Hernandez darted away from his marker on the edge of the box and sent a curling shot just wide of the mark.
They would, however, take the lead almost immediately after the restart.
A defensive porousness has plagued Wigan, who had shipped four goals at Bramall Lane in their last match, of late and that malady showed no sign of abating when Hernandez’s low centre gave rise to a dreadful mix-up between Walton and Kipre.
A gleeful Roofe was in no mood to spurn the opportunity, and, with an almost sneering coolness, he walked the ball over the line for his seventh goal of a most productive campaign thus far.
Wigan wore a collective countenance of weariness and United their opponents down with their relentless, high-octane pressing.
Further chances fell to United’s goalscorers. Roofe fired wide after a brisk shift of the ball onto his left foot before Hernandez lashed a volley over the bar from Ezgjan Alioski’s pinpoint cross.
The Latics’s forays were rather more scarce, and when they finally surged forward with intent late on, substitute Callum McManaman could only bend the ball wide after scampering away from Jansson.
Instead, it was Leeds who threatened a fourth goal of the match in added time.
Forshaw passed for Hernandez with a smart backheel before the latter crashed a low drive against the inside of the post.
The ball fell for substitute Jamie Shackleton, but the callow midfielder saw his follow-up deflected wide for a corner before the referee called time on proceedings and corroborated United’s inflicting of a first home defeat of the season upon their opponents to return to the top of the table.
Summary: Composure and class see United carry day
Despite Wigan’s list of notable absentees, United had their own injury troubles and were up against a team possessed of a formidable home record.
The Latics were without key players such as Will Grigg and Nick Powell, but Marcelo Bielsa’s men had no recourse to Luke Ayling, Gaetano Berardi and Patrick Bamford, and, prima facie, this had all the makings of a stern test of their credentials.
In the end, it was one they passed - and with flying colours.
The early setback of Reece James’s wondrous opener never looked like derailing the unperturbed Whites, whose patient, possession-oriented game prised the home defence apart on several occasions.
They were soon back on level terms through Pablo Hernandez’s close-range finish, and enjoyed a smorgasbord of chances before Kemar Roofe gleefully gobbled up the best of the match early in the second period.
Match Gallery: 12 photos
Indeed, the only reasonable criticism one could have of their performance is that they failed to win by an even greater margin than they did.
With their relentless hassling out of possession and composure and class in it, Leeds had Wigan snared in a most carefully constructed web, stringing their passes together seamlessly and threatening to devour their prey whenever they went forward.
In the end, their opponents could not extricate themselves from the almost ferrous effluvium in which they were bound for much of the match after Hernandez’s equaliser, and Leeds scuttled away with the points in the bag having secured a welcome return to the division’s summit.
Leeds United (3-4-3): Peacock-Farrell; Phillips, Jansson, Cooper; Dallas, Klich (Shackleton 90+1’), Forshaw, Douglas; Hernandez, Roofe, Alioski.
Unused Subs: Blackman, Clarke, Harrison, Roberts, Baker, Saiz.
Wigan Athletic (4-4-1-1): Walton; James, Kipre, Burn, Robinson; Byrne, Gibson (Vaughan 85’), Morsy, Naismith (Da Silva Lopes 70’); Windass; Garner (McManaman 64’).
Unused Subs: Jones, MacDonald, Dunkley, Evans.
Match Statistics (Wigan / Leeds)
Shots: 6 / 12
On target: 1 / 4
Possession: 33% / 67%
Corners: 4 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 15
Referee: Andy Davies.
Booked: Morsy, McManaman (Wigan). Douglas, Hernandez (Leeds).
Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez (Leeds).
Photo: Action Images
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