A day when Sheffield Wednesday could have done without "openness and transparency": Wigan Athletic 3 Owls 2

Maybe the Sheffield Wednesday squad had taken the chairman's message too literally.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 5th August 2018, 9:40 am
Updated Sunday, 5th August 2018, 1:48 pm
Atdhe Nuhiu scores. Pictures: Steve Ellis
Atdhe Nuhiu scores. Pictures: Steve Ellis

Dejphon Chansiri had promised "openness and transparency" at tomorrow night's fans' forum when supporters get to ask him anything they like, including why no signings have been made this summer.

The players produced openness of their own as they kicked off their Championship season with a 3-2 defeat at Wigan Athletic, their defences shredded throughout the game by a quick, slick, hard-running home side who were worthy winners.

A red card for Atdhe Nuhiu near the end

Transparency came from Jos Luhukay. This was a worrying display from an ill-at-ease Wednesday team - reduced to 10 men late on when Atdhe Nuhiu was sent off - who were too easy to get at and break down. The manager didn't hide away from the poorness of the performance.

"The 90 minutes were very disappointing," he said afterwards on the touchline, against the hum of groundmen's mowers on the pitch where his side had been cut up.

"Honestly, over the 90 minutes Wigan deserved the three points. There is no discussion about that. Today we have had no control in our defending."

The optimism of opening day quickly dissipated. The Owls' cause hasn't been helped by the constraints of a transfer embargo, but this was the same group that finished last season on such a high with six wins and a draw in their final nine outings, signing off with a 5-1 drubbing of Norwich City.

Sold out ... 4,744 Owls fans at the DW Stadium

"We gave away more chances than we have in the last two and a half months of last season," Luhukay bemoaned. "We didn't have in the team what I saw on the last day of last season against Norwich."


It was three. It could have been four. Even more.

The boss's words, not mine.

As well as a double from Michael Jacobs and a goal from Nick Powell, the Latics hit the woodwork twice, had a James Vaughan effort ruled out for offside and forced Cameron Dawson into two smart saves.

The embargo suddenly extended to chances as well.

Wednesday, having fallen behind to a ninth-minute shot when Jacobs picked up a header out from a cross, levelled 10 minutes later through Atdhe Nuhiu who was rewarded for perseverance as he despatched Adam Reach's pinpoint left-flank supply at the third attempt.

But it would take until the 63rd minute, by which time Athletic were 3-1 ahead, for them to muster another proper attempt on goal, a shot from Sam Hutchinson, as they were pinned back and disarrayed by the speed and number of the home side's attacks.

"Wigan scored three goals but could have had four or five," Luhukay said. "We have scored two times, but when we have had the ball in offensive situations we haven't had enough chances.

"On crosses from the left side and right side, we stood too far away. We haven't blocked the crosses. In the middle, I always had the feeling they had one or two players free. We looked only at the ball, not the opponent.

"I am surprised we didn't have more stability in our defending. We gave so many chances away that we are lucky at the end that it's only 3-2. This is not what we can do. We can do it a lot better. And we must do it very fast in the next game that we have."

Jacob scored again, on 26 minutes, when another cross fell kindly to him, and it was his 59th-minute shot - following a needless Owls midfield mix-up where Joey Pelupessy failed to respond to Barry Bannan's pass - that came back out to Powell whose neat, dinked touch did the rest.

Fernando Forestieri, latching on to substitute Lucas Joao's superb touch after another excellent Reach cross, offered hope in the 67th minute as he struck emphatically from close range, but the offer ended there as the grandstand finish a sold-out away following of 4,744 were hoping for never really materialised.

Sub Steven Fletcher thought he was in for an unlikely equaliser until the linesman flagged and the shot was saved anyway.

At the final whistle came contrasting emotions.

Gavin Massey and Wigan were all smiles and waves to the crowd, celebrating a successful step up in class from a team in League One last season

Wednesday's Liam Palmer ripped strapping from his body and threw it frustratedly to the floor.

This wasn't what had been expected from a side with a Championship play-off pedigree.


Nuhiu had scored, Joao had made an impact as a 61st-minute sub. But Nuhiu made it easy for Luhukay to choose his starter against Hull City next week.

The giant striker had been booked earlier in the second half for leading with his arm in an aerial challenge, then did the same in the 90th minute to earn a second yellow card, a sending-off and a ban.

The manager didn't hold back on that occurrence either, using the word, "stupid".

On a tough day, open and transparent to the end.

Wigan (4-2-3-1): Walton; James, Dunkley, Kipre, Robinson; Gibson (Vaughan 70), Morsy; Massey (McManaman 81), Powell (Power 70), Jacobs; Grigg. Subs not used: Jones, Bruce, Roberts, Naismith.

Wednesday (3-5-2): Dawson; Lees, van Aken (Joao 61), Pudil; Palmer, Pelupessy (Fletcher 87), Hutchinson, Bannan, Reach; Forestieri, Nuhiu. Subs not used: Wildsmith, Fox, Matias, Boyd, J Lee.

Goals: Jacobs 11, 26, Powell 59 (Wigan); Nuhiu 19, Forestieri 67 (Wednesday).

Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).

Attendance: 14,207 (4,744).