Wigan Athletic fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Berkshire-based Reading at the DW Stadium on Saturday as they slipped further into relegation trouble.
The Latics took the lead on the day through Joe Garner, but the game changed completely after a controversial decision from the referee with just 11 minutes remaining.
Chey Dunkley was adjudged to have handled in the area after a strong run from Reading substitute Lucas Boyé.
George Puscas fired home from the spot, but not many would have predicted what would happen next, as Reading ran riot on Saturday afternoon.
A moment of brilliant from Puscas just a minute later saw him fire home clinically from a tight angle to give Mark Bowen’s side the lead.
But the Romanian forward wasn’t done there, as he slotted home his third of the game after good work from Garath McCleary to secure his hat-trick in just five minutes.
The defeat leaves Wigan 22nd in the Championship table, and they’ll be keen to turn their poor run of form around at the earliest of opportunities.
We look at THREE things we learnt about Wigan after this frustrating defeat to the Royals.
The pressure is starting to grow on Paul Cook.
You only have to look on Wigan’s Twitter account to see that fans are starting to turn on Paul Cook, who has struggled to find consistency in his team’s performances this season.
Wigan currently occupy one of the spots in the relegation zone, and supporters will feel as though they could be facing another season up against relegation if they continue to struggle.
Paul Cook clearly is struggling, as his side are seven games without a win and the cries for him to be dismissed will only grow louder if this run continues.
Their capitulation inside five minutes will be a real concern.
Even though there were moments of brilliance from George Puscas, the way that Wigan crumbled in such a short space of time will be a real concern for Paul Cook.
The penalty decision was a controversial one, but Wigan shouldn’t have let that impact the game as much as it did on the day.
They caved in to the pressure from the Royals late on, and they simply cannot afford to do that in the future, otherwise their days in the Championship will be numbered.
Joe Garner deserves a run in the starting XI.
Garner was a rare bright-spark for the Latics in this one, and he’ll be delighted to score his first league goal of the season on Saturday.
The 31-year-old has only started seven league games for Paul Cook’s side, and has shown real improvement particularly in their recent games against Millwall and Reading.
He’ll be pleased to get off the mark for this season though, and will fancy his chances of keeping Kieffer Moore out of the starting XI heading into the festive period after this run of performances for the Latics.