Wigan gained a much needed three points in their campaign for a return to the Premier League with a committed team performance providing further evidence of the changes that Uwe Rosler is making within the club.
Wigan made two changes from the goalless draw against Burnley with starts for Espinoza and Beausejour at the expense of Gomez and Crainey.
Wigan started brightly and with McCann and McArthur controlling midfield it wasn’t surprising that most of the chances in the first half fell to the away side. The first chance of note fell to Ramis but the Spaniard’s shot was well saved by Grant in the Derby goal. This was to be Ramis last significant contribution to the game as he limped off shortly afterwards as a precaution with an injury which is expected to keep him out of action for a week. Crainey replaced Ramis sparking a reshuffle.
Derby tried to counter attack but Wigan’s defence dealt comfortably with what was thrown at them and continued to press with Boyce shooting over and a Powell appeal for a penalty waved away by the referee who judged that Powell had dove and booked him accordingly.
Derby came more into the game and as expected for a team on an excellent run playing in front of a big home bank holiday crowd had the lion’s share of the possession but once again it was Wigan who looked the most dangerous and a dipping left foot volley by the ever industrious McArthur went narrowly over the bar.
Wigan started the second half in much the same vein, roared on by a noisy travelling support of around one thousand fans and Barnett went close following a free kick from Beausejour.
Rosler made his second substitution shortly afterwards, bringing on McManaman for Espinoza and within a minute he proved influential as a much maligned short corner move between McManaman and Beausejour saw the Chilean fire a powerful long range shot into the back of the net and Wigan had a deserved lead.
This stung Derby into action and it was very much “a backs to the wall” last twenty minutes as the home side pushed forwards in search of an equaliser. Al Habsi who up until this point had had very little to do was then forced into a fine double save from first Hughes and then Latics’ old boy Sammon.
In the closing stages Derby had a gilt edged chance to level the score but following a fine cross from Liverpool loanee Wisdom, top scorer Chris Martin missed a sitter enabling Wigan to hold on to for a deserved victory to close the gap on the teams in the play off places to three points.
Team Line Up
Al Habsi, Boyce (c), Ramis (Crainey) , Barnett, Perch, McArthur, McCann, Espinoza ( McManaman ), Beausejour, Powell, Fortune ( Kiernan)
Man of Match…….McCann , a fine combative midfield performance
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