Wigan fans could be forgiven to likening home wins to buses in that you wait for one for months and then two come at once. Victory is the more sweet in that prior to tonight’s game, Wigan had never taken a point off their illustrious opponents and the victory was thoroughly deserved, as Wigan totally dominated the first sixty minutes and then defended like demons for the final third of the game as United put them under the cosh as they sought an equaliser.
Even when under pressure they managed to restrict the Red Devils to only three shots on target and none of those troubled Al Habsi in the Wigan goal. Roberto Martinez has the luxury of being able to retain the same starting line up from the last three excellent performances and this cohesion and confidence was evident, as Wigan tore into United from the off with the Scottish Holy Trinity of Maloney, McCarthy and McArthur at the heart of everything, withDi Santo a willing foil up front and a solid back line soaking up United’s occasional foray into the Wigan penalty area.
Wigan’s total dominance of the first half hour only lacked one thing, a goal and on the 29th minute this looked to have been resolved, when Moses rose unchallenged to head the ball past the keeper. Wigan’s joy was short lived as yet another linesman made a controversial decision in ruling that Caldwell had impeded De Gea when photographs appear to show the Spanish keeper holding the Wigan captain.
Wigan were unbowed and continued to push forward with United defending in numbers and so total was Wigan’s control of the game, a stranger would have thought that it was the side in blue that was pushing for the title not the side in red
Once again Maloney was the catalyst, his quick feet and constant changing of direction and his willingness to push forward in support of Di Santo caused problems for Evans and Ferdinand all evening.
The half time whistle brought to an end possible the most complete 45 minutes of total football under Roberto’s tenure, with the lack of goals being the only cloud on the horizon.
Wigan no doubt expected United to come straight out of the blocks following a hair drying half time team talk from Sir Alec but they still tore into United, giving them little chance to settle and in the 60th minute their endeavours were rewarded when a quick short corner from Maloney allowed a one two with Beausejour and the diminutive Scotsman came inside and fired an unstoppable shot into the far corner and Wigan deservedly had the lead.
This stung United into action and Wigan adopted a defensive stance relying on occasional breaks from Moses to alleviate the pressure. At the back Caldwell marshalled his troops superbly with Figueroa quite simply outstanding, with one tackle removing the ball from Welbeck’s foot as the striker seemed destined to score from close range. As the game went on Wigan seemed more and more tired and it looked only a matter of time before they conceded. However spirit and belief so sadly lacking earlier in the season kept them going and after 96 minutes of football Mr Dowd blew the final whistle allowing the Wigan players and fans to celebrate a magnificent win but more importantly three precious points which moves them out of the bottom three for the first time in several months.
Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa
Moses, Maloney Di Santo
Man of the Match…the whole team was fantastic and cannot be split
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