Shaun Maloney lauds vital Wigan victory over 10-man Leyton Orient

By Sports Desk March 09, 2024

Boss Shaun Maloney admitted Jason Kerr’s late header against 10-man Leyton Orient secured a ‘really important win’ for Wigan.

The Scottish centre-back had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds when he headed home a cross from Jonny Smith – who had also come on in the same substitution – to break the deadlock at the DW Stadium.

The O’s had played the majority of the game with 10 men after Ethan Galbraith was shown a second yellow card on 42 minutes after two fouls in the space of 13 minutes on his Northern Ireland international colleague Jordan Jones.

After that it was pretty much attack against defence, with Kerr giving Wigan a victory they undoubtedly deserved.

“It was a really important win,” acknowledged Maloney. “The game obviously completely changed on the red card.

“Leyton Orient were good at times in the first half, we were okay. At times we were really creative, at other times we weren’t at our fluent best.

“The only positive from that was when Leyton Orient had possession I never felt like they were creating big opportunities to score.

“The second half was all about trying to stay patient, understand how we were going to break them down.

“They went straight to a five and a four and it isn’t easy trying to break down 10 men.

“It was hard for the players and every substitution we made was to become even more attacking.

“But I thought the players were really good because it certainly wasn’t easy for them.

“As you can see the winner came from a short corner and sometimes you need set-plays like that to get over the line.”

Orient manager Richie Wellens was pleased with what he saw, having had ‘no complaints’ about the match-changing decision.

“I can’t really remember the first (yellow) but I’ve got no complaints about the second one, his foot was high and it was a fair booking,” he said.

“Until the sending off we dominated the game.

“It was too easy for us, the only threat they had was when we lost the ball in the middle of the pitch and they countered on us.

“I’m very proud of the team – to come to this stadium against a club that win the league whenever they are in League One.

“Wigan should be right at the top end of this division so to come here with really young players and play the way we did was excellent.

“It was comfortable for us at the back, I didn’t think they caused us any problems until they made a good substitution, taking (Charlie) Goode off and bringing on someone who was better on the ball at the back, which caused us problems.

“But we’ve been done by a set-play and we’ve got to be better with that.

“After that, they managed the game well, the referee allowed them to slow the game down, waste time, which you expect the opposition to do in that position.”

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