Alarm bells will be ringing for Steve Bruce as he had his Wigan side outperforming a Stoke outfit that were there for the taking. But yet again that killer instinct was lacking in front of goal and it is something that needs to be worked on quickly or we are going to battling relegation again.
There is undoubted talent in this team and it shows in how we create lots of chances, but they count for nothing when like in the first half we try to walk the ball into the net and end up coming away without even a shot.
Yet again Zaki had a few guilt edged chances but lacked the killer shot to see off Stoke, who in fairness defended admirably and they had to. Palacios was the first to threaten goal but his low drive was never going to trouble the Stoke keeper.
Jason Koumas was in charge of free kicks and in the first half couldn’t keep them or his crosses away from the Potters stopper. Sorensen’s life was made so easy by the Welsh International’s ineptness to get quality balls into the danger area.
Zaki had to get treatment after he was clattered by Diao, but the ref didn’t see anything wrong with the challenge. Delap got a couple of chances to show off his long throw, but Latic’s tactic of having three players on the half way line stopped the big men from going up for them and they were duly cancelled out.
Valencia had a shot that threatened to break the deadlock, but it went high and wide just like Koumas’ freekick moments later. Palacios tried a couple more times but his efforts didn’t have the power to actually frighten the Stoke keeper.
The second half saw Latics come out with a lot more urgency and Valencia had the first effort blocked out by a panicky defence. Camara came on for Heskey (due to a hamstring injury)just after the big man heahed narrowly wide.
Camara immediately had the chance of the game so far, but his header gets a deflection wide for a corner. Henri nearly scored from the Koumas corner but he miss kicked the ball harmlessly wide. Moments later Palacios gets a wicked shot on target but is saved well.
Koumas also got his shooting boots on and forces Sorensen into a couple of great saves from distance. Zaki sent a couple of headers narrowly over the bar before Koumas again had a shot desperately blocked.
Sorensen was called on again just ten minutes from time, this time making a great double save from first Palacios’ shot and then off bramble’s header. Both Koumas and Melchiot have shots blocked before the half is wrapped up after Melchiot is foiled again.
With Latics having 60% of the possession and 15 shots, we really should be winning these games. But Stoke came with a game plan and they got exactly what they came for, albeit by the skin of their teeth.
Steve Bruce needs to get the team scoring again as it is going to be a very nervy season if we don’t start getting some points on the board.
Report by Jason Taylor