Nil salvo, ta !

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Saturday 7th May 2011

Aston Villa 1-1 Wigan Athletic

The Premier League

Matchday 36 away at Villa Park and one of Latics best ever centre half’s big Emile was playing upfront for Villa replacing Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Roberto brought Victor Moses in from the start replacing the injured Mohamed Diame, the only change from the creditable home draw against The Toffees.

Captain Caldwell was busy early on but the enigma that is The Zog brought the Holte End alive with booing before the ten minute mark as he slotted the away team in front after good work from Moses.

H o w e v e r  as usual Latics couldn’t hold a lead (again) as want away Ashley Young curled a free-kick on sixteen minutes past a hapless/unsighted? Al Habsi.

On the half mark Heskey got himself a yellow card and with his continuing moaning at the ref he was lucky not to recoeve a red.

Just after Ashley Young was brought down in the area by Watson but the ref waved away any sort of penalty appeals.

Latics counter attacked and again the referee was oblivious to any fouls again as the blue shirts were hacked at by the Villains.

After a period of dominance of the home team Martinez’s men came back into the match as they got their passing game working again.

Cleverley had a shot blocked by Kyle Walker (possible handball?) then Alcaraz came close but his attempt was blocked by Richard Dunne as Latics went to go for a half-time cuppa in the lead but lady luck was awol at Villa Park for the blues, an incident packed first half ended all square at 1-1.

Gary McAllister did the wise thing & replaced the angry Heskey for the 2nd half with Mark Albrighton as Villa started the second 45 in sprightly fashion.

Once again Latics defence kept losing concentration and taking unnecessary risks when contrary to the managers instructions they need to clear the ball into row Z.

A route one ball led to a corner as Latics pressed but once again a set piece was wasted and Al Habsi had to show Hansenesque sweeper skills to clear a quick Villa breakaway.

Then Boyce broke down the right hand side to feed Moses but Victor hit a tame shot straight to a grateful Brad Fiedel.

Wigan were having a lot of joy especially down the right, Stuart Downing was having to double up at left back to quell the threat of an impressive looking Latics.

The possession stakes in the second half was all Wigan but although being on top with passing effectively wasn’t being converted into the goals for column.

Then a dangerous break from Villa ended up with Al Habsi hoofing the ball clear from a cross from Albrighton, the substitute was getting more & more into the match.

Just before the seventy minute mark The Zog was replaced by the twitterman Di Santo as Latics looked like playing a 4-3-3 with the anonymous Rodallega going onto the wing.

Then just to prove this owd mon wrong Hugo got onto a great flick on from DiSanto, he turned and flashed a shot just passed the upright, unlucky not to score.

With news that West Ham had equalized a win was getting more & more essential for Latics as the battle for survival hots up at the foot of The Premiership.

Villa pressed and the home support stopped their grumbling and started to get behind the claret & blues.

James McArthur nicknamed “The Rat” amongst his team-mates replaced Victor Moses with Tom Cleverley moving out wide right.

However a midfield slip, literally by McCarthy let in the usually lethal Darren Bent on a one-on-one but Ali Al Habsi not for the first time this season came out on top with a great save, the ball eventually going out for a goal kick.

Rumour has us signing the young Schmeichel from Leeds United but really Dave Whelan needs to make Bolton Wanderers an offer they can’t refuse for the influential Omani international.

A point gained or two lost? only time will tell, two to go until we knowif  we will be in seventh heaven.

Aston Villa, Friedel, Walker, Collins, Dunne, L. Young, A. Young, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Downing; Heskey (Albrighton 45min) & Bent

Unused substitutes, Marshall, Pires, Bradley, Delfouneso, Delph & Cuellar

Goalscorer, Young 16mins

Booked, Heskey & Young.

Wigan Athletic, Al Habsi, Boyce, G. Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Watson, McCarthy, Moses (McArthur 80mins) N’Zogbia (DiSanto 68mins) Cleverly & Rodallega

Unused substitutes, Kirkland, Gohouri, McArthur, Thomas, Gomez & Sammon

Goalscorer, N’Zogbia 10mins.

Referee, Mike Jones

Attendance, 36,293


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