After 45 games Wigan’s fate was resolved on a Saturday afternoon in Berkshire. Reading themselves needed a point to get their place in the play-offs confirmed, and although it was a win, it wasn’t the dominant performance that it had looked like being after the first five minutes.
The match was marred by a shocking injury to Shaun McDonald, where the midfielder went into a tackle with George Evans, with both players committed to the tackle. Regardless of people’s first impressions, or even the opinions of knowledgeable Twitter users, what happened was a footballing accident, acknowledged by MacDonald himself.
Our thoughts and goodwill obviously go to him, as no one likes to see committed players come off with that sort of injury.
Back to the game and after Kermorgant's bullet header, you would have thought that Reading would have run away with this. However, Wigan put up a spirited display, and in effort if not quality were probably a little unlucky not to come away with a point.
Still, this Reading side have something about them – which I have commented on before, in that even when not playing well they manage to get results. Is that the mark of a lucky team or a good team? I am unsure, but I will take this every day of the week.
The talk on the Wigan social media front was about a number of things such as the injury, the management and the distinct lack of goals in their forward line.
As much as the Latics fans have complained, fair play to them for being positive about next season.
Once a fan always a fan....
You can change your car— Michael Dawber (@michaeldawber) April 29, 2017
You can change your wife
But you can't change your team!
Up the flipping Tics!!!! #wafc #wiganathletic #upthetics pic.twitter.com/b6uPpXYXQL
Player of the Season proving his class!
Nice words from @AliAlhabsi on #wafc: "I was there for five years and the relationship between me and the fans I will never forget."— Greg Farrimond (@GregFarrimond) April 29, 2017
Relegation party against leeds? Might as well #wafc— Carl Finch (@carl_finch85) April 29, 2017
All pray for a #WAFC win!
I don't know why everyone is laughing at Leeds Utd. All they need next week is:#swfc 7-0 #ffc#wafc 0-7 #lufc— Matt Lawrence (@xMATTxLAWx) April 29, 2017
Piece of cake
There's always a bright side to everything!
Look on the bright side, we've escaped having to go to Sunderland #wafc— Dave (@davygravy22) April 29, 2017
Might be part of the reason why...
Stephan Warnock crossing the ball into box where we've not had a player since November #wafc— Tat (@MenkFeck) April 29, 2017
There's been some #ReadingFC performances that I can think of!
Should I have a beer? Not sure I can stand the next 90 mins sober #readingfc v #WAFC #IBelieve #ComeOnLatics— Harvey Rowley (@HarveyRowley1) April 29, 2017
Surprisingly, given the importance of the game and the consequences of the result, the media coverage was fairly light on Wigan. Saying that though, given that this has been a drawn-out divorce from the Championship that has been pretty much obvious for the last few months, I can probably understand why.
So, on to the little coverage we have, and mostly it's just round-ups. The Independent don’t really say a lot about the game and given that it’s five lines, it's fairly pointless reading.
The Mail on Sunday have a very similar report, also saying in effect that Wigan tried but ultimately lacked that bit of class to break down Reading's defence. They do however have some pictures to go with the story! (OK so I am reaching!)
Yep, you guessed it, ITV (yes I know, shocking that they have coverage!) also carry pretty much exactly the same report. I'm spotting some lazy papers this week...
Right, I'm fed up with the national press so on to the online media outlets, and as usual Sky have their video coverage with a mammoth one minute 47 seconds of coverage and from the highlights it’s difficult to say who is in the play-offs and who has been relegated. The report itself is the only one so far to actually give decent coverage of the game with Nick Powell being guilty of missing a number of chances, and the brilliantly named Max Power being another culprit.
The BBC are being nice to us this week, saying that although Wigan had chances we also had opportunities to extend our lead. They are also the only people to mention that the only team who have a better home record than us is Brighton. Something at the beginning of this season I doubt that anyone would have predicted.
So we have a dead rubber against Burton on Sunday, then the real business starts – the play-offs. Given what we have seen this season, we have to hope that we can keep in the game away from home then hope for a result at the Mad Stad. However, we all know that the play-offs are a lottery. After the results against Bolton, Walsall, Wolves and Swansea we know that we don’t have what you might call a play-off pedigree but we have to believe.
Let's be honest - this season has far gone beyond any fan's expectations!
We have a maximum of four games left this season. Starting with Burton on Sunday we need to give the team our maximum support and start believing. We have proven that this season we have been capable of getting solid results. We need nerve, concentration and players playing to the top of their game and who knows, maybe just maybe...