You just can’t coach that – Shaun Maloney savours late Wigan winner

By Sports Desk January 23, 2024

Shaun Maloney admitted Wigan’s 109th-minute winner against Wycombe came from a moment of magic from Charlie Hughes that ‘can’t be coached’.

It looked like a thoroughly dour encounter at the DW would end with the score it deserved before Hughes’ late heroics.

And just as Steven Rushton – who had stepped up from fourth official to replace the injured Adam Herczeg, causing a near-20 minute delay – was reaching for his whistle, centre-back Hughes’ volley flew past Max Stryjek to give Wigan a second 1-0 home win in three days.

“It was a strange one, a prolonged one because of the delay,” said Maloney. “It was probably tough to watch, because it was tough to play in conditions that weren’t easy.

“It was a really difficult game but to finally break them down and get that winner, the players are delighted.

“It felt like another big moment for us and it’s one of those moments where you just have to enjoy it – and we did.

“Normally I don’t show too much emotion after goals, and I don’t even think I did after this one, but I loved two aspects of the goal.

“The first was Callum McManaman’s one-v-one. In the final third, I thought we were good tonight until we got into that part of the pitch, and we were a bit off it – but then you get a moment from Callum, who has that one-v-one talent that you just can’t coach.

“I loved what he did, and then obviously Charlie’s finish… again, you just can’t coach that kind of ability.

“I’m well chuffed for him, and I actually thought in the whole second half he was brilliant.”

For Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield, it was a case of what might have been.

“I’m obviously disappointed and frustrated about another point that’s got away from us,” he said.

“It actually felt like we were in the ascendency in the latter stages of the game, we brought on fresh legs and I felt like it had the desired effect.

“In life you have to make your own luck, and we will continue to work hard to make things happen.

“We played the majority of the last part of the game in the opposition half and obviously the boys are distraught at giving away a point in the manner we did.

“The goal at the end, there’s a multitude of little things that should have been done better. But all those little things add up – especially at the end of the game – and we end up with the ball in the back of our net.

“The amount of games we’ve had this year that have gone so far beyond ‘normal’ time, I’ve never known a season like it.

“But after the restart, I felt it was us in the ascendency, and I’m just so disappointed and frustrated for the supporters who have travelled so far and the boys who have put in so much effort and executed the game-plan exactly the way we wanted them to.”

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