June 25, 2024

Kirkland in injury-free times

Forget about curates’ eggs, Wigan’s performance today was more like a Scotch egg: on the whole meaty, but with an all too apparent yellow centre. There was plenty of sausagey goodness to be found, but the whole thing was spoiled by the failings of Latics’ eggy underbelly: the defence. And man, does it leave a bad taste in the mouth.

On another day, maybe two goals would have been enough to grab all three points, but this wasn’t another day. Wigan were left to rue missed chances, as for all their smooth passing and marauding runs they only had one goal to show for their efforts. In fact, the backline had Mike Pollitt — who entered the fray early on thanks to another breakdown from Chris ‘Glass Back’ Kirkland — to thank for a magnificent save or two to deny Birmingham a  goal in the first 45 minutes.

In truth, though, Wigan dominated the first half. So far this season, I don’t believe I’ve seen us look so comfortable and trouble a defence as much as we did prior to 3:47PM today – the notoriously dodgy centre backs held out quite well, and Wigan really could have put the match to bed by the interval.

Hugo Rodallega and Charles N’Zogbia ran riot, creating chances aplenty and really taking it to the opposition, who by and large had no answer. The latter’s controlled strike gave the home side a lead on 33 minutes, and it was certainly coming. The former had more than a few glorious chances to take us it 2-0 and make the scoreline a bit more reflective of first half possession and chances created.

Joe Hart has a word with his team mates at half time
Birmingham’s Joe Hart has a word with his team mates at half time

But Birmingham came out of the break revitalised, and took the game by the scruff of the neck with a goal on 61 minutes from Larsson. In all truth, it really should have been cleared by a shaky Wigan defence, who began to slowly crumble from that point onwards. A large slice of luck was involved in the buildup to the goal, referee Lee Probert conjuring a freekick out of nowhere to come to Birmingham’s rescue.

Kirkland in injury-free times
Kirkland in injury-free times

It seemed to spark the visitors into life, and they would go on to double and triple their tally in the subsequent ten minute period, undoing all the good first half work by Latics’ forward line in one fell swoop. Perhaps Pollitt may have been slightly at fault for failing to deflect the third — a Larsson free kick — past his right post, but we’ll not dwell on that too much because Polly is lacking match practise and clearly did his best and kept Wigan at 1-0 on numerous occasions.

A second wind for the Latics saw a pleasant last-minute free kick by Gomez round off the day, but it was all too late for the home side. A pity, because if the game would have been decided based on quality of goals, I think Wigan would have just about shaded it.

That’s all I can remember right now. I seem to recall thinking Latics were lucky not to concede a penalty at some point in the first half, but Wigan were so dominant and the abject disappointment is so great you can forgive me for neglecting to mention that.

Today’s opponents were admittedly better in the attacking department than Sunderland, but still represented a side we should be looking to beat if we’re to stay in the division. Which I’m sure we will, if we sort out these horrible defensive discrepancies which reared their ugly head once again this afternoon.

And anyway, I suppose we all should have expected this result because we won last week. Don’t worry too much, expect things to be a bit brighter against Stoke.

A final quick word must go to Alex McLeish, who took time out to sign a few autographs down at the dugouts half an hour before the game. I believe that makes him the first to do so this season, so a big ‘cheers’ to Alex!

8 thoughts on “Wigan 2-3 Birmingham: Did you expect anything more?

  1. Thank you for pointing out that Alex McLeish signed autographs for fans. He is a great gentleman, is showing what he can achieve on a limited budget AND is a non-whinger, unlike some managers who have been in charge at both our clubs.

  2. Also forgot to mention that Rodallega deliberately punched Johnson in the face causing him to stream with blood. Brave man eh?!! Should have been down to 10 men at 0-0, so poetic justice that we equalised from a mis-awarded free kick.

  3. Dodgy defence? It’s the same defence as last season, maybe it’s whats in front of them thats causing the problem?

  4. A very fair assessment. The only things I would add are that not for the first time we seemed very slow off the blocks in the second half. I would suggest that we need to be the first out after half time (we are always second) just to see if that makes a difference. Birmingham also showed their experience, which although very frustrating, did work as they completely dominated the referee, whingeing and moaning about everything and conning him into some decisions, including the decisive free kick for the first goal. We should expect more from a Premier league referee but in truth Mr Probert was awful even when we were on top. Bobby has to get us more street wise and we need to show more character when things go against us. I’m confident he will do so.

  5. @Alan: McLeish = my fave manager to visit the DW this season! All-round nice guy. He’s quietly doing a good job at Birmingham, too, so I’d say watch out for him staying in the Prem (Scottish Prem maybe?) in years to come.

    @Bluenosesol: I had a perfect view of the Rodallega incident, and TBF he did lead with his hand. I do think Johnson overreacted just a tad, but there was a connection, not really a sending off IMO. I do think Birmingham should’ve had a penalty in the first half, though, so I would point to that incident as the ‘poetic justice’ moment for the mis-awarded free kick.

    @ DD: You have a good point. I think the defence were to blame for one, maybe two goals today, though, and following on from the nine-goal drubbing (Sunderland doesn’t count because their attack was tepid) they’re either on terrible form or just not up to it. Hmm. Dunno what to think.

    @ Gary: Well, dunno about fair, all my ‘reports’ (note the inverted commas) are very biased towards Wigan, but anyway…. thought Probert wasn’t too bad yesterday, though I will concede Birmingham were better at playing the ref than us.

    Something else I forgot to mention, did anyone notice Rodders changed his gloves from white to black in the second half, like a reverse Michael Jackson? Methinks it had something to do with pugilism. 😉

  6. funny how you seem to mention the free kick that wasent, that led to our opener,yet seem to forget that your second goal from a free kick, shouldnt have been either as it hit johnsons knee and not his hand,ummm.

  7. To be fair, I have absolutely no idea whether that was a free kick or not (still haven’t seen a replay), but you can’t deny it was far less important a decision.

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