Latics 0-1 Hull
Tuesday 28th August 2007

So, whilst “Mr. Perm” was busy dodging trains on deserted platforms I was overcome by one of those “oh, sack it” moments. Within an hour or so my Lady and an ex-red, old schoolmate, Coppullite (sorry Andy) had found ourselves on the West Stand concourse £45 + pie deeper in debt.

Gathering round a Pooles’ Chunky we pondered team selections, Mario Melchiot`s scarily thin legs and the probable waste of a good overdraft that was to follow.

As it turned out, “Matchstick Mario” was only one of three regular starters with 8 of the first team on the almost injured/having a rest with an eye on St James Park list. Leaving plenty of chances for the Latics “Old Boys” to remind us they exist.

And they succeeded, if not in the way they intended. The Latics 5000ish were indeed reminded why they exist… in the reserves.

A relatively bright start saw the “will he, won’t he” partnership of Camara and Folan miss half-chances, tricking us into thinking we might be in for a value for money evening. In an early spell of pressure, Cotterill and Melchiot carved openings and KK was defying his “Mr. Slow” name, hitting his newly installed turbo boost, his crosses however were met enthusiastically by Row 10 of the North Stand.

Michael Brown played like it mattered, working hard to get the ball back and showing some intelligent passing. The result being that he created more and importantly lost the ball less than his midfield mate.

All too often, Skoko was overcome with waves of colour-blindness, struggled on what was, granted, his first start for some time. Hopefully his Aussie recall will give him the much needed boost but it doesn’t take Burger Van Man to work out he’ll be watching more than playing this season.

Anyhow, on 20-minutes some of the afore mentioned sloppy midfield play led to Fitz Hall gifting a chance that Pollitt rushed out to save with his legs. The keeper had no chance 10 minutes later however, when another mistake, this time by “Big Swede”, Granqvist (who up to now has looked settled in the Premiership). His sliced clearance spooned to Stuart Elliot. The lively Northern Ireland International striking a sweet volley from 20 yards to give Hull the lead.

A lull in play followed, allowing me to mentally wander through the pros and cons of doubling my pie count. I rightly resisted, deciding that tomorrow mornings guts hadn’t done anything to deserve such punishment.

Hull continued to press through to half time and it became obvious that early second half subs were needed to shake this one up.

Latics were dominant and created some good chances in the second half.

Koumas and Aghahowa were introduced and a directness returned to the play. The latter blazing wide after the former had sneaked him in on goal. Cueing at least 400 Latics fans to turn to their mates and mention the lack of a back flip opportunity. A “must do better” note from Hutch was no doubt left in Julius’ satchel.

Cotterill’s mazy run half way through the second half led to him being felled on the edge of the box, a free kick for sure, maybe a penalty. The Ref disagreed and Hull were let off. Kilbane and Brown both went close with long range shots and further late pressure saw Wigan end with 19 – 7 attempts on goal but nothing to show.

In the end, a scruffy display saw Wigan repeat last years 2nd round departure and another opportunity to “concentrate on the league”. Michael Brown was a plus point and looked the only player intending to elbow his way into the 1st team. Landzaat and Scharner should check over their shoulders.

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