Incredible depth in “our Batth”
Danny Batth was a step above on the pitch today. While it is hard to comment on what didn’t end up being a real threat in the final quarter, it has to be said the interceptions and general defensive play by Danny was at another level this afternoon.
He kept Wyke very quiet (apart from the goal, which was more down to poor defence by others when taking on a Wigan counter attack rather than from general play), but he was huge for us pretty much from start to finish.
When we had to change shape due to Gooch being withdrawn, he continued to marshall the back line like the true leader he is, and we looked stronger and stronger as the game progressed. A huge shift from the big man.
Roberts had a go and got nothing, but deserved more
When an attacking player has a game like Roberts did, but did not come away with a goal, you have to be left with mixed feelings. He had his man in knots, dishing out nutmegs time after time and skinning his defender at will. It was such a pleasure to watch and a real indication of the quality gap between him and Clarke and the likes of McClean, who was nowhere near as effective.
I was gutted for Patrick when he didn't come away with a goal, as his jinking magic deserved something, but as this lad comes more into form this season he looks stronger and stronger, which has to be an asset for our immediate and longer term future, both this season and beyond.
What a return to the team, and what a header!
It was great to have Dennis back in the side and his back post header came straight from his Spurs roots. For some time, Spurs have taught their wing backs that the back post attack is their place to be, and Dennis carried that expectation forward for the benefit of the 37000 lads fans, who rose with him as one to smash that header past the Wigan stopper in the 72nd minute.
While Alese has had a great spell in the absence of Dennis during his injury spell, I am more and more convinced there is space in the starting 11 for both Alese and Cirkin, as both offer different options at the back, and in other ways in attack.
I’m sort of pleased the circumstances meant we had them both on the pitch at the same time and that we got to see what they can do, as this could be a turning point in our season knowing what we now know. Options with squads sometimes come about through coincidences, and this was one of those we need to look at and build from.
Dennis got the second and provided the first. What a return to the first team group.
Balls across our opponents' goals deserve more
The one regret I have from the game is that the balls drilled across the 6 yard line deserved more, and I have no doubt we will get more from that when we have a striker.
The lack of that player who can gamble naturally on a ball across the box is something we are missing, It doesn't take a genius to work that out, but it isn't very often as clear as it was against Wigan how much we miss that instinct. We had the same a couple of times in the Swansea game. All we needed was a gamble by one of the lads.
I don’t want the wider lads to stop doing what they are doing, but I cannot wait till we have the likes of Ross there for those gambled tap ins.
He will have a field day in this league if we keep creating as we have, which again is a great sign for our future thirty or so games in this campaign.
Let’s be honest, if the second tier had VAR, Elliot Embleton was likely taking an early bath for his tackle on big Chaz. If that outcome had happened as I certainly feel it may have, that would have been a very different game of footy. Elliot ended up turning in a very well-worked first goal and played well until his sub late in the game.
While we applaud the passion and physical commitment from players like Embo, we need to thank our lucky stars and learn from such outcomes.
Passion is great, but it's all about the timing. Fingers crossed both Elliot and the team learn from this. I want to see some of these lads beat the Mags very soon. If they get this het up playing half a dozen ex-Mackems, that does not bode well for the proper derby.
Ten out of ten for the goal though Elliot. Great work.