Monday, 25 April 2016

DW Stadium – Wigan Athletic

 23rd April 2016

Wigan 4-1 Southend

Sometimes your luck is in, but at other times not.  Five goals there were at this encounter…..and I missed the lot, photographically speaking.  Now that is not as calamitous as it may sound, as I freely acknowledge the main aim of this blog is to record the grounds themselves rather than any sporting action going on.  And, given I generally have to employ a touch of stealth with my camera at many venues, keeping it trained on the action (like those telephoto-wielding chaps and chapesses behind each goal) is not really an option.  Rather, my general approach is to sneak the camera out for a few five-minute sessions during each half, and click away.

But what irked me here is that every goal appeared to choose to arrive just seconds after I had put my camera away.  I caught loads of goalmouth action and Wigan sitters being missed, but nary a goal entered my lens.

Still, as Johannes Simmel so elegantly put it:  “It can’t always be caviar”.

As the sign states "Welcome to the DW Stadium"

Prior to kick-off Wigan's Will Grigg received his
League One Player of the Month award.

Grigg and Max Power (great name!) kick-off

Wigan v Southend - April 2016

Chris McCann's shot hits the post.  A few minutes later a similar attempt opened the scoring 

Southend's 'keeper Ted Smith does a bit of juggling following another McCann attempt.

Southend defender Adam Thompson has a sly tug at Jason Pearce's jersey, hauling him to the ground.

Ben Coker (L) & Michael Jacobs (plus one unimpressed-looking ball-boy)

Wigan's Jason Pearce leaves Tyrone Barnett floundering.

Ted Smith happy to see this attempt whizz past his post.

All twenty outfield players in the same area of the pitch!

Wigan 'keeper Jussi Jääskeläinen enjoyed a heated chat with a
linesman during the second-half.
Not sure what the Finn found to get so het up about.

Adam Thompson - Southend United

Wigan v Southend - April 2016

Wigan v Southend - April 2016

Wigan defend a Southend United corner -kick.  The ball is in there somewhere.

Visiting number 7 David Worrell prepares to waste another free-kick.

Adam Barrett - Southend United

Poor Jason Pearce is on the receiving end of another
unorthodox penalty-box challenge
- this time Adam Barrett has a sly tug on his throat.



Panorama of DW Stadium, Wigan.

Plenty of caviar and champagne (CLUMSY LINK ALERT!) though for the Wigan supporters this afternoon, as their side’s demolition of visitors Southend United, allied to Walsall’s inexplicable collapse at home to Bradford City, all but ensured The Latics’ promotion back to the Championship.  Only a failure to pick up any points in any of their final two matches, coupled with a goal difference swing of twenty-three, can prevent the promotion party starting in earnest.

One cannot help but be impressed by the job done by manager Gary Caldwell, especially when one recalls just how woeful Athletic were last season.  But, after a decidedly ropey opening to their League One campaign during which the Latics failed to score in either of their opening two matches, things really began to pick up after a home defeat to Blackpool in December.  Going into this afternoon’s game, Wigan had lost just once more in twenty-two matches.

A deal of the plaudits have gone the way of top scorer Will GRIGG.  Both of his counters here (17th & 36th minutes) were typically ruthless poacher's goals; although the Northern Irishman’s celebrations on both occasions were so low key as to make me wonder if offside has been flagged.  This brace followed on from Chris McCANN’s opener after 9 minutes. 

The best goal of the lot in my opinion was the fourth as Michael JACOBS completed a flowing move through a befuddled Shrimpers' defence, five minutes after the break.  The winger atoning for an earlier open-goal howler – not quite in the Dele Alli or Patrick Roberts class, but pretty darned close.  

In addition to the hyperactive Grigg whose poaching talents one could not help but admire, I also enjoyed the contributions of both Yanik Wildschut and Stephen Warnock who between them gave visiting captain John White a day to forget, tormenting him remorselessly.

As for Southend it was difficult really to know what to make of them.  Having secured mid-table mediocrity some weeks back, many of the side looked to be already on the beach.  Up front Tyrone Barnett looked the sort of chap who could make a real nuisance of himself if he was so inclined (this afternoon: apparently not inclined).  In midfield Jack Payne after he came on beavered away manfully to little real effect, but it was at the back where Southend United were woeful, Wigan cutting through their defences time and time again.  Perhaps inevitably, the visitors' 74th minute goal came from a baffling o.g. by home defender Craig MORGAN.

At half-time Sean Lock, with the aid of Spit the Dog,
succeeded in causing the pitch announcer's brains to squirt out of his right ear.

A word on the DW Stadium (or JJB, as it will remain for wrinkles like me for some time): one can tell almost immediately that it shares a deal of DNA with The McAlpine Stadium at Huddersfield, but I felt it was in some indefinable way, just not quite so impressive.  The open corners did not help, but the atmosphere also appeared just a tad subdued for whatever reason.  Although the home lot in the wing of the Boston Stand stand and their adjacent visitors did their best, light-heartedly taunting one another: “Two-nil, and you still don’t sing” etc.  

It may have been the fact that Wigan had led the league for so long, and that promotion was pretty much inevitable which contributed to the flat atmosphere, but I rather wondered if the fact so many of the Wigan supporters would still vividly recall those heady Premiership days (not forgetting that magical Wembley day in May 2013), that the clinching of promotion from England’s third tier was, well, nothing much to write home about?    

There are a number of car parks around the ground but not all, apparently, are owned by the football club.  I was puzzled to find one (car park 2) not being guarded by a pack of money-requesting stewards when I arrived, so naturally parked in there.  I learned this one was owned by the DW Sports Fitness club, so parking was free.  Despite this fact, I passed by queues of cars patiently waiting their turn to fork out a fiver to enter an adjacent identical car park.

Most odd.

DW Stadium exterior.

The Springfield Stand, I assume, has been named to recognise Wigan Athletics former home Springfield Park.

DW Stadium exterior.

DW Stadium exterior.

The River Douglas, although little more than a stream at this point, runs past the DW.

The Boston Stand, DW Stadium.

Panorama of DW Stadium, Wigan.

The DW is now 17 years old, and bits of it could do with a touch of TLC.

The South Stand, DW Stadium.

I got home safe, Thanks.

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