Novak brace earns Town a share of the spoils
A second half brace from Lee Novak earned Town a point at the DW Stadium on Monday afternoon in the U21 Professional Development League 2.
The striker was the beneficiary of two brilliant pieces of play from substitute Israel Johnson.
With twenty minutes of time to play Novak tapped home Johnson’s well saved shot after the midfielder had done superbly to break through the Wigan defence.
Johnson then broke the Wigan backline again and earned a penalty, which Novak duly slotted home.
Town had been poor in the first half and deservedly went in at half-time two goals behind. Danny Redmond’s superb free-kick and Joshua Sumner’s low effort had given the home side a good advantage.
Town Captain Jordan Sinnott missed a couple of chances and also smashed the upright with a free-kick as both teams played their parts in a very entertaining encounter.
Steve Eyre was able to call upon Lee Novak, Joel Lynch, Chris Atkinson and Tom Clarke for the trip to the DW Stadium as Town’s U21s looked to bounce back from the loss against Birmingham.
The early stages of the clash belonged to the home team who passed the ball around well and enjoyed a lot of possession down’s Town left.
Town – who lined up in a 4-4-2 formation – worked hard to close down the Latics and plug gaps as they were dragged around the field, but needlessly gifted Wigan the chance to open the scoring on 20 minutes. Jordan Sinnott was the culprit; the midfielder dragged Wigan striker Filip Orsula to the floor, which allowed Danny Redmond to curl home delightfully from 20 yards.
Sinnott had the perfect opportunity to redeem himself five minutes late, but after good play from Godwin Abadaki and Matt Crooks had released the midfielder, Town’s captain failed to round Marco Marosi in the Wigan goal and the danger was cleared.
By the half hour mark Town had finally got a foothold of the game and were making Wigan work at the back. Left-back Robbie McIntyre tried his luck from twenty yards and forced Marosi into a good low save as the Terriers went in search of an equaliser.
Their task was made significantly harder, though, with less than ten minutes of the half remaining. A well-directed cross field pass found Joshua Sumner unmarked and the winger just managed to get the ball past Lloyd Allinson, despite the stopper getting a good hand to the shot.
Town began the half with renewed vigour and almost earned a lifeline in the 54th minute. Instead of going round the Wigan defenders, Abadaki chose to go through them – and it worked! With three in his wake, the striker teed up Sinnott who was again unable to beat the impressive Marosi.
The visitor’s pressure continued throughout the opening twenty minutes of the second 45 with the Wigan defence doing especially well to block Novak’s shot on the turn from Crooks’ nod down.
However, the turning point in the game came twenty minutes from time when Eyre introduced Israel Johnson to the fray.
Johnson’s first involvement was to prevent Town falling further behind by blocking Ryan Watson’s effort from six yards. His attacking potential then came to the fore as he collected a through ball and forced Marosi into a save with the rebound falling to Novak to tap home.
The substitute continued to lead Town’s fight back and earned the Terriers a penalty a minute later when he was clipped in the box. Novak stepped up and duly did the honours to double his and Town’s tally.
Sinnott almost grabbed a deserving goal with 12 minutes to play, but the midfielder saw his 30 yard, bullet of a free-kick rebound off the upright.
Town looked the more likely to earn the three minutes during the final ten minutes, but Wigan defended manfully and held on for a point.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Lloyd Allinson; Robbie McIntyre, Joel Lynch, Tom Clarke, Tom Smith; Dale Hopson (Israel Johnson, 70), Chris Atkinson, Jordan Sinnott, Matt Crooks; Lee Novak, Godwin Abadaki
Sam Guthrie, Jake Charles, Joe Wilkinson