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Bosses endure wet Wednesday woe

18 December 2013

Wigan manager Uwe Rosler and Sheffield Wednesday caretaker boss Stuart Gray agreed referee Keith Stroud made the right call when abandoning their sides' Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough due to a water-logged pitch.

Rosler, in charge of his first league game on the road since replacing Owen Coyle as Wigan boss, had more to be disappointed about than counterpart Gray as his side looked a good bet to secure a rare away win this season before Stroud called a halt to proceedings in torrential rain in the 59th minute.

Midfielder James McClean, a £2million summer signing from Sunderland, scored his first goal for Wigan in the 24th minute, coolly sliding the ball under Wednesday goalkeeper Damian Martinez after a fortunate ricochet off defender Roger Johnson had sent him clear into the penalty area.

"I've no complaints. The referee did the right thing," said former Brentford boss Rosler, who made five changes to the side that halted a six-game losing run with victory over Bolton on Sunday and saw them miss a host of other golden first-half chances.

"Safety first for the players for both teams. I felt that when you have so much water on the pitch that Nick Powell can't convert a one-on-one with the keeper because the ball's stuck in the water, I think the referee didn't have a chance but to call it off.

"I think the referee was very good. In the first half when more rain came and settled on the pitch, I thought he was excellent and it was the right decision.

"Obviously for us, as good as we played in the first half and in the second, as tough as our game programme is in the next few weeks, this was a blow.

"I enjoyed myself so much the way we played in the first half against a team who has been on a high and beating top teams in our division, how we played on their pitch, how we quietened the crowd, how we dominated the game, I enjoyed myself so much.

"My only criticism is that we didn't score more goals. The game should have been safe at half-time."

Wednesday caretaker Gray, in his fourth game in charge following Dave Jones' sacking earlier this month and given an extended run by chairman Milan Mandaric to stake his claim for the permanent role, also praised the referee, but admitted his side had clearly been second best.

"I'm totally disappointed with the first-half performance," he said. "We got outplayed, bullied, individual errors, decision-making.

"I was happy to get in at half-time only 1-0 down, but for 15 minutes in the second I thought we bossed it.

"But in the end it had to be the right decision. The players' safety is the most important thing.

"Players can't run with the ball, the ball's sticking. Sometimes it's quite amusing for the supporters, but you've got to think of the players' health."

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