A dominant performance by Wigan Athletic, their best this season looked like producing another defeat until a late wonder strike by substitute Martyn Waghorn saw Wigan snatch a deserved share of the spoils although they will be left to regret a plethora of missed chances and woodwork hitting shots which should have put them out of sight against a very limited Bolton side.
Only change to the Wigan side from the side defeated by Watford was the introduction of loanee Murphy in place of another loanee Ojo. On the bench there was a recall for Waghorn in place of Sinclair.
The game started off with a whimper with both sides struggling to cope with the pitch. For Bolton Le Fondre buzzed around without actually creating anything worth calling a chance with former Latics favourite Heskey showing Fortune how to play the target man role effectively.
For Wigan Kim very quickly became the dominant force in the midfield battle and his non stop running and probing very quickly saw Wigan assume the ascendancy and it wasn’t long before Wigan had their first good chance when a poor clearance by Bolton saw the ball come out to Perch who was just outside the area and his powerful shot hit the underside of the bar and stayed out.
Wigan grew in confidence and from a Murphy cross Fortune headed goalwards but his header lacked pace and was comfortably saved by Amos in the Bolton goal. Another chance saw Amos at his best when he had to alter direction to tip the ball away at point blank range from Clarke.
Another chance saw Pennant steal the ball in midfield and with space opening up in front of him , the dangerous midfielder chose the wrong option, instead of shooting he fed the ball through to Clarke whose header did find the back of the net but from a quiet clearly offside position
Wigan trooped off at half time to a standing ovation from their embattled faithful support who had just witnessed more quality in forty five minutes then in the vast majority of this season’s games combined.
Wigan started the second half full of confidence and once again they were thwarted by the woodwork when a free kick from Pennant beat both the wall and the keeper only to see the ball bounce back off the post and scrambled away by Amos before the Wigan strike force could react.
Wigan continued to pour forwards with only the odd half chance to the away side which were comfortably dealt with by the rock like partnership of Pearce and Maguire
It was no surprise then that the next good chance once again fell to Wigan and young winger Murphy who posed a real threat all afternoon shot from outside the area only to see his shot land on top of the net.
With their only one team seemingly capable of scoring , the game blew a metaphorical raspberry at Wigan when a partially cleared ball fell to young academy Bolton graduate Tom Walker. The youngster totally mishit his shot which was going wide of the goal but a deflected off the heel of a Wigan defender totally wrong footed l Habsi and the big Omani could only watch the ball trickle into the net to the obvious delight of their large away following behind the goal.
Wigan didn’t let their heads drop however and substitute Ojo let rip a powerful shot which just went over the bar and as the game drew to the end of the ninety minutes many fans held their heads in anguish as Clarke saw a header hit the bar from a corner.
Just when it seemed that Wigan were to endure another defeat, substitute Waghorn showed the value of having a goal poacher who isn’t afraid to try anything. A long throw from Kvist landed in the middle of the penalty area and Waghorn produced an overhead kick which at fourth time lucky hit the woodwork (this time the bar) before bouncing down into the net giving Wigan the very least the afternoon’s activity deserved.
The full time whistle came and whilst the deficit to escape relegation had only been reduced by one point the performance gave renewed optimism to the fans of performing the great escape
Team Line up and Player Ratings
Al Habsi…..6, a quiet afternoon, couldn’t be faulted for the goal
Boyce……6, lacking in pace but not effort, withdrawn.
Pearce……8, a rock in defence.
Maguire…8.5, a key player in our great escape effort.
Bong……..6, solid in defence.
Murphy…..7, a sparkling performance.
Kim……….9, MOM, best player on the pitch by a mile.
Perch…….7, dominant in midfield , unlucky not to score.
Pennant…6, excellent free kick, withdrawn.
Clarke…..7, worked hard, unlucky not to score.
Fortune….6, tried hard to provide links to others, withdrawn
Entertainment rating……..8/10 a rip roaring local derby
Waghorn Post Match
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