Heroic defensive performance secures Wigan an away day victory

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Wigan made the trip down to the West Midlands to play West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns seeking to regain the momentum last after last week’s poor home defeat against Arsenal.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez resisted the temptation to make wholesale changed, merely restoring Antolin Alcaraz from his enforced absence in place of Steve Gohuri who dropped to the bench.

The home side started the brighter and had the first chancewithin a minute when Northern Ireland international Chris brunt headed wide from a cross by Thomas.

Within five minutes Wigan keeper Al Habsi had earned his match fee when he produced a finger tip save from a rasping shot once again from Brunt.

Wigan kept trying to play passing football and enjoyed themajority of the possession but all too  often a wayward pass handed the ball back to the home side and Wigan’s first chance was in the 23rd minute but Moses flashed his shot wide.

Wigan’s defence has been the subject of much debate this season but they couldn’t be blamed for the opening goal when Caldwell was harshly adjudged to have fouled Shane Long. The resultant free kick was taken from 25 plus yards out by Steven Reid and his powerful shot left Al Habsi stranded and the home side were ahead. This gave the home side further momentum and both Odemwingie and Reid went close.

Wigan’s first attempt on target four minutes after the opening goal resulted in a goal for the away
side, a driving run by Diame found Moses in the area and his shot found the back of the net sparking wild celebrations amongst the travelling faithful and long suffering supporters.

This equaliser sparked a period of Wigan pressure with a corner and a shot both by Gomez the best attempts.

Half time saw the two lowest scorers in the division troop in for their half time cuppa with honours even and in terms of possession and attempts on target neither side had any reason to feel dissatisfied.

The second half started in much the same vein with both teams looking to attack and both defences being stretched with very few clear cut chances . It was Wigan however who seized the imitative when Malumbo fouled McCarthy outside the penalty area. Jones took the free kick
which was blocked by Reid and then in the ensuing scramble Reid was adjudged to have fouled Moses and for the second away game on the trot Jordi Gomez stepped up to put Wigan into the league.

Wigan grew in confidence and both Gomez and Moses forcing Foster to make saves. At the other end The Baggies pushed forward in search of an equaliser and both Shorey and Long forced Al
Habsi onto good saves. Wigan were under the cosh and their pattern was further disrupted when Alcaraz limped off to be replaced by Gohuri.
Shortly afterwards Martinez opted to make another change, replacing the industrious Stam with the tenacious McArthur.The changes didn’t alleviate the pressure and the Baggies continued to push forward and came close to making it 2 all when a Thomas shot went narrowly wide of the post with Al Habsi well beaten

West Brom went close again when a Thomas cross was met by the head of Shane Long and the ball hit the post and Gohuri cleared the ball.

For Wigan, chances had dried up and the best move saw Moses break out from defence and reach the West Brom penalty area before he was well tackled.

Wigan made a third substitution bringing on Di Santo instead of the tiring Sammon but his opportunities were limited such as was the pressure exerted by the home side.

Thomas was again provider but ex Latics legend Scharner could only head over the bar. West Brom then had a good shout for a penalty but referee Mike Dean ruled that substitute Graham Dorrans had dived and gave him a yellow card.

In the end, heroic blocks clearances and superb saves enabled Wigan to withstand almost 20 minutes of constant pressure and the second away win on the bounce enabled Wigan to move out of the bottom three.

Wigan(3-2-4-1)

Al Habsi

Alcaraz , Caldwell, Figueroa

Stam , Jones

Moses, McCarthy, Diame,Gomez

Sammon

Substitutes used

McArthur, Gohuri, Di Santo

Att 25,446

Man of the Match…the whole team for a totally committed performance

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