A wonderful goal from Mauro Boselli sealed Wigan’s win and an away tie at Macclesfield with a one nil away win at Bournemouth.
Wigan made the long trip to the holiday resort for what was expected to be anything like a relaxing evening at the seaside against a resurgent home side who were than a match for their more illustrious opponents ten days ago.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez could be excused for having an eye on the forthcoming Premier League game against Sunderland at the weekend opted to gamble on resting eight of the starting line up from the honourable draw at Fulham, handing home debuts to new signings Henriquez and Espinoza and throwing youngsters Fyvie and Golobart into the fray with four more youngsters populating the bench.
Most sides have a reputation of playing good passing football and the game started in this manner but in near freezing temperatures, the pitch rapidly hardened making it difficult for both teams to play their normal games.
The game was played in front of a passionate home crowd and Wigan displaying the composure espoused by their Manager did well to nullify any half chances in the opening stanza.
Wigan then went one better when forgotten man Mauro Boselli fired a powerful shot from just outside the penalty area following an error by the Bournemouth midfield which left Jalal in the home goal powerless to save and Wigan had the lead.
Bournemouth continued to probe the Wigan defence but their style was more suited to Wigan’s style of play rather than the traditional kick and rush style of lower league teams.
Wigan however have conceded some soft goals this season and very nearly did again when a mistake by Golobart when playing the ball out of defence let in the home side but Wigan managed to scramble back and break the move down.
Bournemouth’s best moment came when a cross by Pugh found the head of Thomas and with Pollitt well beaten the ball skimmed the post on the way for a goal kick.
Wigan brought Al Habsi on in the second half and continued to operate their plan of controlled contai9nment, content to let Bournemouth come forward and break the play down in midfield.
Bournemouth had the first real chance of the half when a long throw by Cook took a wicked bounce off the hard pitch beating all the Wigan defence and their keeper. Thankfully for Wigan it eluded the foot of McQuoid and the far post.
Wigan quickly broke on the hard surface and after a good break by Henriquez ,Wigan won a corner. From the corner the ball ended in the home goal but the referee disallowed the header from Golobart for an infringement.
Bournemouth were more than a match in terms of possession and quality and Al Habsi had to pull off a good save from Arter and following a good block by the lower abdomen of Golobart, Jalal had to pull off a fine save to deny Boselli a brace.
Bournemouth continued to press and a shot from Pugh saw Al Habsi make a wonderful save to send the ball for a corner. From the resultant corner the ball squirmed narrowly wide of the far post with the big Omani stranded.
Wigan nearly made it two when Dicko should have finished off a fine cross from Espinoza but the young attacker managed to miss the ball.
A goal mouth scramble in the last minute in the Wigan had the faithful travelling fans with their hearts in their mouths but Wigan held on for a hard won victory
Team Line up
Al Habsi, Boyce (c), Golobart, Figueroa, Stam, Gomez, Fyvie, Espinoza, Henriquez, Boselli, McManaman.
Man of the Match……Espinoza, covered every blade of grass. Nominated by travelling fan Liam O’Connor