MATCH REPORT: Wigan 2 Fleetwood 0

Jack Sowerby in action at Wigan
Jack Sowerby in action at Wigan

It was a case of deja vu for the travelling Cod Army as Town's Achilles Heel of set-pieces ensured Uwe Rosler's first return to Wigan was an unhappy one in a blizzard at the DW Stadium.

Rumblings of discontent came from the Cod Army at the full-time whistle with a handful of boos thrown Town's way.

And that could snowball if Town now fail to get a result at non-league Hereford in their FA Cup replay on Thursday.

But despite the same old story of recent weeks of a lack of clinicality and ingenuity there are positives to take from this clash with Fleetwood playing some of their best football to date, though the aim of the game is goals and Town could do with rampaging the Bulls next week to reload their fire power and restore confidence.

On his first return since his November 2014 sacking Rosler made four changes to his Fleetwood side that drew 1-1 with Hereford in the FA Cup.

Chris Neal, Baily Cargill, Ash Hunter and Wes Burns all moved to the bench as Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy hero Jack Sowerby, Markus Schwabl, Alex Cairns and Cian Bolger all returned to the line-up.

On-loan Burnley man Aiden O'Neill missed out on a place in the squad due to injury with Rosler switched up to a 5-4-1 formation utilising Devante Cole as a loan striker.

The plan appeared to be shut Wigan out and then break on the counter but it was a failure to execute the basics in the box that saw all of the pre-match preparation and thoughtful planning fly out of the window.

As the snow tumbled at the DW Fleetwood were the architects of their own downfall as failure to clear a cross into a box lead to the Latics taking the lead just seven minutes into the game.

Lewie Coyle and Kyle Dempsey both failed to clear the lines with Dempsey trying to play the ball out on the edge of his own box rather than hoof it out of the way.

Wigan had done their homework on Town and earmarked set-pieces as a weakness with Paul Cook purposefully switching his corner and free-kick routines up to send Nick Powell into the mix and give Lee Evans the chance to whip the ball in.

It paid dividends in the seventh minute as Dempsey's attempted clearance was put out for a corner. Wigan took it quick to not allow Fleetwood to settle and caught them napping at the back as Powell raced in to divert Evan's ball home.

It was the worst start Rosler could have hoped for on his return to the DW but instead of roll over and wallow Town came out fighting and played some of their best football of the season with midfielder George Glendon instrumental in the middle.

And though there was a fire blazing outside Will Grigg certainly did not live up to his song as Town managed to keep him quiet and bossed the majority of the first 45.

Glendon had clearly been working on set-pieces at Poolfoot Farm and he angled a corner towards Ash Eastham who had darted in towards the near post. His header flew over Christian Walton but kissed the bar and flew out.

After that you could sense it was not going to be Town's day and despite some probing runs from the middle by Glendon and company Fleetwood just could not find an end product with Dempsey blasting a well-worked move from the right straight at a blue and white shirt.

To get anything from a team at the top like Wigan you need to take your chances though Town and Sowerby will be left kicking themselves with thoughts of what might have been.

Sowerby raced at Dan Burn with Cole in acres of space on his right though with the whole stadium, even the home fans, chanting at him to pass the young midifelder's eye was firmly on goal though in the end the counter-attacking move fell apart at the seams as Sowerby fluffed his lines to not even get a shot off.

One compared the midfielder's grace to be akin to bambi on ice at Wigan's wintery wonderland and it is hard to argue with that assessment as Town would soon be punished for that huge missed opportunity just after the half hour mark.

Dempsey miss-timed a tackle in his own half on Powell and with 10 minutes or so to the break Wigan smelt blood.

It was Evans again but there was nothing funny about his delivery as he whipped a peach of a ball in towards Burn to nod home.

Reece James tried to catch out Cairns with a looping effort from distance but the keeper did enough backpeddaling to claim the ball and Evans blasted wide as Wigan went for a killer third goal.

Though it appeared that two goal cushion would be enough as Cook's men settled for that scoreline in the second half.

Rosler made changes with Markus Schwabl, who had recieved treatment for a knee injury during the first half on the pitch, brought off for Jordy Hiwula as Rosler threw an extra striker on to support Cole in a bid to overturn the two goal deficit.

Though despite the extra firepower Town could not find a way to break down Wigan with the visitors in turn at times strolling into Fleetwood's box though they could not add to their tally despite Powell's best efforts.

During the first half Dempsey had received treatment after a clash of heads with Wigan skipper Samy Morsy and just 10 minutes into the second he had to come off due to concussion from that clash.

That saw Town's Stocksbridge Park Steels summer signing and development squad starlet Harrison Biggins make his football league bow.

Though not as famous or as potent in front of goal as one of Town's previous players with Stocksbridge heritage Jamie Vardy, Biggins, 21, grabbed the chance left by O'Neill's injury and Dempsey's head knock to take his chance against a midfield of Wigan's that has Championship quality.

It was one hell of a baptism of fire but one that the Town man ably did though his lack of experience told with a late booking for a foul on Lee Evans though that would not dent his memories of his first professional game in a snow storm at Wigan.

The travelling support had hoped they would have seen a storm on the pitch and Town attack in abundance to try and overturn the scoreline but despite switching to three up front with Hunter joining Cole and Hiwula the goals did not come.

Wigan had sat back and Town just could not break them down with a late Glendon corner that flew straight to Walton summing up their bite in the second half with Cole also curling one over the bar after neat work by Sowerby early doors.

It was the Latics who had the best chances of the half with Town thankful to Cairns for keeping the score to two as he tipped away Max Power's strike from distance with Bolger producing a fine piece of defending to tip the ball away from Powell.

Substitute Ivan Toney nearly made it three after capitalising on a slip by Biggins but he blasted the ball straight at Cairns.

Though the action for him allegedly did not just stay on the pitch with rumours of a tunnell bust up between the forward and a Town man doing the rounds.

In the end it was comfortable for Wigan who were no world beaters or sparklingbut just simply more organised, clinical and stronger across the board than Town which is no surprise given their superior budget and Championship pedigree but the Town fans had hoped for a bit more bark in a second half that saw many in the stadium desperate for the game to end to escape the chill and embrace a hot mug of cocoa.

There was a scattering of boos from the away following at the final whistle as Town's inconsistent start to the season rolled on, though like the snow storm during the game, lets hope these clouds pass with Town now needing to iron out their defensive frailties and find a way to regain their clinical touch soon before those snow clouds turn black.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Pond, Bolger, Bell, Schwabl (Hiwula, 46) Sowerby (Hunter, 72), Glendon, Dempsey (Biggins, 56), Cole. Subs not used: Neal, Burns, Maguire, Cargill.

Wigan: Walton, Byrne, Morsy (Capt), Evans, Grigg (Massey, 66), Jacobs, Dunkley, Powell (Toney, 78), James, Colclough (Power, 66), Burn. Subs not used: Sarkic, Elder, Bruce, Roberts.

Referee: A Haines.

Attendance: 8,879.