Darrell Clarke delighted to see Cheltenham dig deep for point at Wigan

By Sports Desk February 23, 2024

Cheltenham manager Darrell Clarke was delighted with his side’s point at Wigan despite being far from their best.

Town had taken the lead inside nine minutes through Matty Taylor, but were pegged back seven minutes after the restart when on-loan Liverpool defender Luke Chambers fired home via a huge deflection.

“It was a tough night for us,” said Clarke, whose side had to dig deep as Wigan dominated both the possession and the territory, without really looking likely to force home a winner.

“We spent a lot of time without the ball, and we weren’t at our standards with the ball.

“But I’m delighted with the point, because if you can’t perform as well as you can, don’t lose the game and we did that.

“We defended superbly, and I feel a bit unfortunate with the goal we did concede, because it is a foul in the lead-up.

“But on the balance it was a tough night and we’ll take our point.

“Matty has taken his goal well, which is pleasing, but it wasn’t an easy watch, if I’m honest with you.

“They had a lot of the ball and the territory, without really causing us too many problems.

“But we didn’t look after the ball enough on the transition to get more of a foothold in the game.

“The effort, commitment, desire was there for all to see, and probably five or six months ago we’d have lost that game comfortably.”

For Wigan boss Shaun Maloney, it was a case of two points dropped – although at least it stopped the rot after two home defeats on the spin.

“I was probably a little bit disappointed we didn’t win it really,” acknowledged Maloney, who made a triple substitution at the break, such was his unease at that time.

“I think to have that amount of possession, and to be camped in their half for the whole of the second half, I am a bit disappointed we didn’t win it.

“But we have to respect the opposition, and when you concede to a set-play that early on, you immediately know it’s going to be a very difficult night in store.

“I didn’t like the first half very much…we had a lot of the ball but we didn’t have any real threat.

“The second half felt completely different and, to be fair to the players, I could feel the tension, and they kept trying to break down a very resolute Cheltenham team.

“I liked the second half, but in the first half I need a lot more.

“We made the three changes at half-time, and I just needed a different profile on the pitch.

“I knew if we did certain things, we’d have a lot of the ball, but we just needed more threat.

“Sometimes when a team is sitting very deep, you need players who are very good at one-v-ones.

“I knew if we had that, we’d create crossing opportunities, and the three boys who came on, I was really happy with.”

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