A wonderful instinctive goal from Marc Antoine Fortune yesterday set Wigan on the way to a comprehensive victory over AFC Bournemouth, a fine revenge for the early season defeat at Dean Court.
Uwe Rosler continued to rotate the squad following last week’s score draw in the cup with Powell , Watson, Fortune and McCann returning to the starting XI with McClean, Fortune Espinoza, and Gomez the players to make way. New loan signing Ty Browning was on the bench.
Wigan started on the front foot, playing with pace in their feet and fire in their bellies and within five minutes they had the lead. A ball from Powell was subject to an attempted block from the Bournemouth defence, the ball came to Fortune who swivelled and fired home a spectacular shot for his second goal in a Wigan shirt, a marked contrast to his simple tap in at Yeovil.
Wigan continued to break with pace and the vast improvement in the fitness of the team was evident for all to see. The next chance fell to McManaman when Powell broke into the area and with the attacking midfielder shaping to shoot, the ball was taken of his toe by McManaman but his powerful shot didn’t find the back of the net.
Wigan were dominant and the central midfield trio of McCann, McArthur and Watson were imperious, the latter distributing some slide rule passes to the attacking full backs of Beausejour and Perch.
Bournemouth looked to play on the counter but their every attacking move was snuffed out by the hard working Wigan defence. Bournemouth’s best options in the first half were from corners and the away side demonstrated a tendency to utilise the short corner in the hope of pulling the Wigan defence out of position but when these corners came over they were in the main comfortably dealt with by the back four and those that weren’t were mopped up by Al Habsi.
Wigan continued to press without scoring and the best chance in the last fifteen minutes of the first half fell to Watson with a free kick but with the ball seeming flying into the top corner of the net an acrobatic leap from Camp tipped the ball around the post for a corner. Further powerful shots most notably from McArthur fizzed just over the bar
Bournemouth’s main threat was forward Lewis Grabban whose pace and power kept Emerson Boyce on alert for the whole game but the veteran centre half conceded no quarter in their hard but fair battle.
The second half started with a substitution for Wigan with James Perch who suffered a bad knock after twenty minutes of the first half being replaced by debutant Ty Browning at right back. The young full back showed his effectiveness in the second half, attacking down the right hand side with pace and working hard to snuff out any Bournemouth attacks in tandem with Emerson Boyce. One such move found McManaman and the young Liverpudlian beat two men on the dead abll lien and fired over a cross which no one could get a touch on.
Not for the first game this season, Wigan’s most potent threat was down the left with good link play between Beausejour and Powell looking to find Fortune who in one move scuffed a shot and to his and everyone else’s amazement saw the ball bobble into the empty net as the ball spooned off defender Ward with Lee Camp left stranded.
Bournemouth looked to change things around with the introduction of livewire Rantie whose pace was a constant threat for the last period of the game and two fine shots kept Al Habsi on his toes the big Omani making fine saves.
Wigan continued to show pace and flair which was sadly lacking in the first half of the season and were rewarded for their efforts when a fine shot from Gomez beat Camp and Wigan were coasting to a fine three nil win and yet another clean sheet.
The clean sheet was almost ruined in injury time as not once but twice with Rantie firing two shots which were well saved..
The full time whistle brought cheers of approval from the vast majority of the DW crowd for a job well done and the change in style, commitment and fitness in the team was evident for all to see,
Line Up and player ratings
Al Habsi……7, a fine shot stopper.
Perch…..6, attacked well down the right, withdrawn injured.
Boyce…..6.5, a fine battle with Grabban.
Barnett…..7, Cool, calm and collected.
Beausejour…..6.5, attacked well down the left.
Powell…..6, looked out of place when switched onto the left but never stopped trying.
McArthur……8, a fine defensive and attacking performance. Man of Match
McCann…..7, worked hard.
Watson…..7.5., a fine performance. Withdrawn
McManaman…..6, faded after the break, withdrawn.
Powell…..6.5, a potent attacking threat.
Fortune…..7.5 , his best game in a Latics shirt
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