Wigan extend their lead at the top of League One with a hard fought 1-0 win over the Sky Blues, despite missing a penalty.
Will Grigg played the part of hero and villain for the home side, as he claimed the only goal of the game before missing a routine spot-kick from twelve yards.
City failed to gain a meaningful momentum in the second 45 and were reduced to half-chances in the final third. With the help of surrounding fixtures, Wigan go four points clear at the top as City slide to 13th.
Tony Mowbray only elected to make one change to the starting line-up that took a point away from Priestfield last weekend in a goalless draw.
Adam Armstrong had been sufficiently rested after a busy week away with the young England Lions, in a spell where he netted twice for his international side. Bulgarian international, Vladimir Gadzhev took up a place on the City bench for his debut inclusion in the matchday squad.
The clock had barely begun before City had their first opportunity to test Jussi Jaaskelainen in the Wigan goal. Gael Bigirimana floated a nicely weighted pass to Romain Vincelot on the edge of the area and the French midfielder elected to hit it first time. The volley crept narrowly wide of the far post, but gave the 1,200 strong Sky Blue following some encouragement to find their voice.
Coventry City responded to the support from the crowd and began to use the central trio of John Fleck, Bigirimana and Vincelot to spread the ball wide. Armstrong was full of running on his return to the starting XI and was picking up the ball on the far left and cutting inside to ask questions of the Wigan backline.
Yanic Wildschut was the home side’s brightest player in the first quarter, picking the ball up and driving toward Wigan’s offensive third. The forward won a free-kick 25 yards out after a lengthy charge forward, which was struck by Conor McAleny but the City wall stood firm.
Wigan looked threatening again in the 36th minute when an advancing McAleny fired a cross in from the left, which connected with the head of centre-half Leon Barnett. The ex-Coventry man directed his header toward goal, but Reice Charles-Cook was able to watch it roll comfortably wide as the referee called time on the first half.
The home side were out the traps quickly as the second 45 got underway; a quick succession of chances fell to 22-goal striker Will Grigg followed by McAleny. Grigg saw his shot-come-cross saved by Charles-Cook before failing to get real purchase on a headed opportunity moments later. McAlney then engineered a yard of the space just shy of the 18-yard box and fired millimetres wide.
Wigan’s pressure was rewarded in the 57th minute when Grigg latched on to a Stephen Warnock cross and the touch was enough to take it passed Charles-Cook.
The hosts were then awarded a penalty in the 65th minute as Fleck was adjudged to have fouled McAlney in the area. Scorer of Wigan’s first goal, Grigg took the resulting spot-kick only to see his effort clawed away by Charles-Cook.
With 15 minutes left on the clock and all three substitutions made, City went in search of an equaliser. Marc-Antoine Fortune joined the action up top, as Jacob Murphy was deployed on the left. Joe Cole was on in place of Bigirimana in midfield in a bid to add some attacking intent to City’s play.
The three changes weren’t enough to make an impact on the scoreline as Wigan continued their charge toward the League One title with a 1-0 win.
Attendance: 10,415 (1,203 away)
Coventry City: Charles-Cook (GK), Ricketts (C), Stephens, Martin, Phillips, Fleck, Bigirimana (Cole 52’), Vincelot (Murphy 60’), Armstrong, Jones, Tudgay (Fortune 60’).
Subs: Addai (GK), Lorentzson, Gadzhev, Lameiras.
Wigan: Jaaskelainen, Perkins, Daniels, Power, Morsy, Grigg Vuckic 88’), Warnock, McAleny (Wabara 71’), Barnett, Pearce (C), Wildschut (Jacobs 78’).
Subs: Nicholls, McCann, Davies, Colclough.