Wigan 0-1 Brighton: Match Report

22 October 2016 04:34

Brighton substitute Dale Stephens secures three points at Wigan

A cracking goal from substitute Dale Stephens midway through the second half settled a tight Sky Bet Championship clash 1-0 in Brighton's favour at Wigan.

The midfielder was in the right place at the right time to fire into the top corner from 25 yards and halt Wigan's recent resurgence.

Despite starting the game in the bottom three, Wigan had momentum after extending their unbeaten record to four matches in midweek with a deserved draw at Leeds.

And they came flying out of the blocks and really took the game to their opponents.

Michael Jacobs might have done better when firing wide from a decent position, which was almost punished within seconds at the other end.

Wigan goalkeeper Adam Bogdan failed to deal with a deep corner, and Glenn Murray will be wondering how his header did not hit the target from underneath the bar.

Brighton were content to sit back and play on the counter-attack, and Wigan took full advantage by gaining a stranglehold on the game.

Will Grigg's back-header caused temporary panic in the visitors' penalty area, before Max Power saw a shot deflect just wide for a corner.

From the set-piece, Nick Powell's bullet header from point-blank range was brilliantly saved by David Stockdale, with the flag going up as Dan Burn attempted to prod home the rebound.

Wigan lost Powell to injury just after the half-hour mark but his replacement, Nathan Byrne, was quickly into the play and looking lively.

Byrne and Grigg thought they were in after a Brighton corner broke down, only for ex-Wigan man Gaetan Bong to rescue his side.

The Wigan substitute then saw a shot blocked from a good position as half-time approached.

But there was still time for Brighton to almost nose in front, when Sam Baldock's fierce shot was brilliantly saved by Bogdan, with Stephen Warnock completing the clearance.

The second half was a far more sedate affair, with Wigan continuing to push for the opening goal, knowing they were leaving behind gaps for the visitors to exploit.

Byrne and Reece Burke failed to hit the target in the opening stages of the half, and Wigan's profligacy came back to haunt them midway through the second period.

Bolton-born Stephens had scored on his previous visit to the DW Stadium in Wigan's 2-1 win here two seasons ago.

And within minutes of coming off the Brighton bench, the midfielder curled a magnificent effort past the outstretched fingertips of Bogdan and into the top corner.

Wigan boss Gary Caldwell surprisingly took off top scorer Grigg at the break in play, sending on Adam Le Fondre instead.

But the home side looked as though the wind had been completely knocked out of their sails, and barely tested Stockdale in the final quarter.

Jacobs thought he had wriggled his way through in stoppage time, only to be denied by a last-ditch challenge from Bong.

Source: PA