Wigan manager Roberto Martinez made two changes Steve Gohuri coming in at centre half in place of the suspended Gary Caldwell with Franco Di Santo replacing Albert Crusat, the Argentinean moving to the lone forward role with Rodallega dropping back onto the left wing. Momo Diame was passed fit before the kick off to keep his place in the starting line up of a real relegation six pointer.
In the autumnal sunshine both sides stared off nervously as befits two of the worst defences in the league. Wigan trying to encompass their managers philosophy trying to pass the ball around, Wolves favouring the more direct route utilising the pace of Stephen Hunt.
Wigan’s defence has been guilty of some cartoon like errors at the back in previous weeks and it was almost the case again today when Gohuri flapped a foot at a through ball completely missing it and Edwards taking advantage forced Al Habsi into the first of many excellent saves.
Wolves continued to push forward with direct play and the next major talking point was when Hunt got past Gohuri and Al Habsi appeared to catch Hunt who stumbled and played on when he had gone down there would have been a good chance of the penalty kick being awarded. The ball went out for a corner and a second more hopeful penalty appeal came as a result, this time for
handball but the referee correctly ruled no foul.
Wigan tried to regroup and Moses seemed to be the focus of the majority of their attacking moves but all too often his final ball was poor. Di Santo ran his socks off but all too often lack support
and Diame pushed forward at every opportunity but as in so many games this season the final ball and lack of men in the box let Wigan down.
Hugo Rodallega had a nightmare of an afternoon, Martinez had in the week talked up Hugo stating he was back to his best now, well on this afternoon’s form I would beg to differ, his shots on goal were woeful, the first being after good work from the midfield the ball was fed to him by Di Santo and a weak toe poke allowed Hennesey to make an easy save and a few minutes later a brilliant through ball by Di Santo saw Rodallega beat the offside trap and with the goal at his mercy and only the keeper to beat he failed to even hit the side netting.
Within a minute Wolves were in front thereby highlighting Wigan’s two problems, that of failing to score goals and failing to keep them out. Edwards crossing from the right and O’Hara leaving Al Habsi with no chance as he buried the ball in the back of the net and once again Wigan
Wigan tried to re group but all too often the move fell apart with the ball going backwards rather than into the area.The Wigan goal, when it came showed the value of keeping going when attacking instead of looking for someone to pass to. The teacher was Emerson Boyce who drove in from the right and was subject to a Wolves foul by Hunt and Wigan were awarded a penalty.
Watson who with his last spot kick away to Swansea had delivered a poor kick stepped up to take one which if possible was even worse and Hennessey saved well, however unluckily for the Wolves keeper the ball came back to Watson who had an easy tap in.
The half ended with both sides considering themselves unlucky for not being in front, Wigan due to Hugo’s woeful finishing and Wolves due to the failed penalty claim.
Mick McCarthy opted to make a change at half time replacing Guediora with Jarvis and immediately Wolves looked a more potent threat. Wigan’s half team talk looked to have borne fruit with first Moses and then Di Santo shooting narrowly wide both from outside the area.
Within ten minutes of the re-start Wolves were ahead when poor defending allowed the ball to be put into the six yard box and despite fantastic saves by Al Habsi from Hunt and O’Hara , Edwards finally burrowed the ball into the back of the net.
Wigan brought on Crusat for Watson who looked visibly unhappy about being substituted. Crusat contributed little as Wigan strove to get the equaliser and the next goal when it put the home side in the ascendancy.
O’Hara was denied again by another wonder save by Al Habsi but Ward followed up and Wigan were staring down the barrel of an eighth successive defeat.
A double substitution by Martinez saw Rodallega and Jones being replaced by Sammon and McArthur and Sammon provided a sharp presence in the box something that has sadly been lacking this season.
Wigan’s lack of converting chances into goals was summed up by Gohuri and Diame who both missed good chances and a sour note to the game was an alleged spit by Alcaraz onto a Wolves player which if seen by the F.A. could spell a hefty ban for the Paraguyan international.
Wigan remain rooted to the bottom of the division and despite the commitment from the players the fact remains that Wigan are just not good enough and on current form look doomed to relegation.
Al Habsi… 9 but for him would have been double figures.
Boyce….. 6.5 best of the back four
Alcaraz….6 did ok but the alleged spit left a sour taste in the mouth
Gohuri…. 5 too often pulled out of position
Moses…….5 neat runs but poor final passes.
Diame……8 best outfielder
Watson…..6 lucky with the penalty
Jones……..5 quiet against his former club
Rodallega. 4 Paid to score goals and woefully failing in that task
Di Santo…7 Couldn’t fault his effort or commitment
Crusat …….5 anonymous
Sammon… 7 looked sharp
McArthur…6 little chance to shine
Man of the Match
Ali Al Habsi, another superb performance in defeat from the
Omani international who is keeping the score down.
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