Gomes Saves Thwart Dominant Wigan
The famous English Victorian poet Robert Browning wrote in his poem, Home thoughts from abroad, “Oh, to be in England now that April ’s there
And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning, unaware.”
Whoever woke in Wigan this morning expect a warm dry spring day as eulogised by Browning were greeted by wet dark blustery conditions which thankfully had lifted by kick off to produce a warm spring day. Both teams are noted for playing a passing game with differing levels of success, however it was Wigan who upstaged their more illustrious opponents and can consider themselves unlucky not to have secured all three points.
Wigan’s manager Martinez seeking his first back to back league victories since taking charge of the club nineteen months ago opted to make only one change to line up that secured a deserved last gasp victory against Birmingham last time out with all the returning international players being passed fit to start. That change was the fully fit Rodallega replacing Di Santo in the lone forward role.
Latics started the brighter and a brace of corners early on, had the Champions League quarter finalists on the back foot but Gomes set the marker for a good afternoon in the goal by making to clean catches.
The hosts were particularly impressive in midfield with Moses and N’Zogbia attacking with abandon down the wings and Watson and Cleverly working hard to close down Van der Vaart and company which they did with understated efficiency.
Up front Rodallega still struggled under the close supervision of Dawson and Bassong, on the few occasions when he did escape their defensive clutches the assistant referee flagged for offside or a Spurs free kick.
Wigan seemed to have a good shout for a penalty when Moses cut in from the right wing and burst into the penalty area, he appeared to be fouled but as he fell his hand landed on the ball and Mr Marriner who otherwise had an excellent game ruled a free kick for handball be awarded to Spurs.
The rest of the half was end to wend stuff without any real clear cut chances on goal,
for Spurs a couple of half chances fell to Pavlyuchenko but he was easily blocked by the Wigan defence. Defoe who has scored ten goals in as many games against Wigan was reduced to a bit part this afternoon thanks to the close attentions of the Wigan back four ably sup[ported by Ben Watson in a sweeper role.
For Wigan several shots went just wide most notably from McCarthy, Moses and Cleverley.
Have time was met with a round of applause from the Wigan faithful for 45 minutes of total commitment and flair.
The second half continued in the same vein with Wigan belying their league position and Harry Rednapp cutting an animated figure in the technical area. N’Zogbia almost scored in the first minute after the re-start but once again Gomes saved well. This was followed by a brilliant shot from Cleverly whose shot was heading for the top right hand corner before Gomes produced a superb finger tip save.
This stimulated Spurs into making changes with Crouch and Lennon replacing Defoe and Van der Vaart. Wigan opted to introduce Conor Sammon for the tiring Moses. These substitutions seemed to stimulate Spurs and the visitors had their best 15 minutes of the game but didn’t really trouble Al Habsi.
Sammon chased every ball and although raw troubled the Spurs defence both on the ground and in the air.
The big Irishman almost snatched victory in the dying seconds when he got on the end of cross but Gomes saved again at point blank range.
Mr Marriner blew the full time whistle and whilst prior to the game a point would be viewed as a positive, the performance deserved three points and only wasteful finishing in front of goal let the Latics down.
Man of the Match.
Ben Watson…notwithstanding some poor set pieces he was immense in midfield and he reduced Van der Vaart to a spectator for most of the game
Wigan Athletic Al Habsi, Boyce, G. Caldwell, Figueroa, Watson, McCarthy; Moses (Sammon, 66), N’Zogbia (Di Santo, 85), Cleverly & Rodallega (Diame, 85)
Unused substitutes Pollitt, Gohouri, Gomez & Stam
Booked, Gary Caldwell
Tottenham Hotspur, Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Van Der Vaart (Lennon, 68), Jenas, Sandro, Modric (Kranjcar, 86) Pavlyuchenko, & Defoe (Crouch, 57)
Unused substitutes, Cudicini, Huddlestone, Rose & Pienaar
Referee, Andre Mariner
(Picture courtesy of Wigan Athletic FC)
‘The Listening Club”.
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