Wigan made the long trip to a sun kissed Boleyn Ground to face Sam Allerdyce’s West Ham side knowing that a victory today would see them out of the bottom three. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez perhaps mindful of the aerial threat of Andy Carroll opted to change around his defensive formation, bringing back captain Gary Caldwell in place of Jean Beausejour with Maynor Figueroa moving forwards into a left wing back role. Up front the rested McManaman returned in place of Di Santo with the Argentinean having to be content with a place on the bench.
Wigan started the more positive of the teams and Jaaskelainen had to make a fine save to deny Alcaraz the opening goal. Wigan continued to dominate and a quick one two between McCarthy and Kone saw the ball passed through to Maloney but the on form Scotsman shot directly at Jaaskelainen.
The home side hit back and Robles had to be at his best to deny Nolan when the home side’s skipper turned quickly and fired a goal bound shot towards goal, Robles’ fingertips denying him the opening goal.
Wigan suffered a major blow when a key figure in their recent form Antolin Alcaraz was forced off with an unspecified injury following a fouled by fellow team mate Mohammed Diame. The Paraguayan was replaced by Beausejour and Wigan seemed to take a collective loss of confidence as a result as the home side poured forwards in search of the opening goal.
They didn’t have to try for long as within ten minutes they were ahead, Jarvis broke down the left and fired over a cross, despite the lunges of his team mates no one managed to get a touch ont he ball including the Wigan keeper who could only watch the ball go into the bottom corner and West Ham were ahead.
Wigan failed to respond with any sort of positivity to this setback and West Ham dominated the rest of the first half , the two teams trooped off with Wigan knowing that they would have to up their game if they were to take anything out of this crucial match.
Wigan started the second half with the early introduction of McArthur for McManaman and their trademark passing game was much to the fore as they pushed forwards in search of an equaliser with the home side content to sit back behind the ball ,seeking to frustrate the away side and catch Wigan on the break.
There is much to admire about Wigan’s style of football, its slick, crisp and pleasing on the eye, what it doesn’t do however is break down a team content to sit back and once again today Wigan were forced to shoot from distance with Beausejour, McCarthy and Figueroa all shooting embarrassingly wide when a little bit fo creativity might have broken the defence down.
Up front for Wigan, Kone struck an increasingly frustrated figure having to drop back towards midfield looking for the ball as all too often Wigan seemed reluctant to commit midfielders forward, the best effort being a long range shot from McArthur, well saved by Jaaskelainen.
Boyce and Gomez also forced the keeper into fine saves but the home side eventually eased their fans worries when a long free kick found Carroll who controlled the ball well, found Kevin Nolan who gave Robles no chance and the game was over.
Martinez introduced another striking option in Di Santo for Gomez with four minutes to go but it was far too late to have any effect on the game and this defeat coupled with positive results for Stoke, Norwich and Sunderland increases the relegation pressure on Wigan with a spell of 5 games in 15 days looming.
Robles, Scharner, Alcaraz, Caldwell (c), Boyce, Figueroa, McCarthy, Gomez, McManaman, Kone, Maloney.
Beausejour for Alcaraz (15)
McArthur for McManaman ( 45)
Di Santo for Gomez (86)
Att 34, 544
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