I go on hiatus for a week and on my return find my comment queue filled with spam, each and every message containing absolutely nothing to do with football. Well, I suppose that’s what you get for not posting in… however many days it’s been.
Latics were also back in action this afternoon. Not that I was in any position to attend, for which I have Heritage Open Days to thank. You won’t hear me complaining (well, not much anyway), but it is a bit awkward that the thing clashed with this afternoon’s encounter with the Black Cats at the DW. Must be why they held the Wigan events at Leigh Civic Square.
Whatever the case, I was limited to just a second half WISH FM commentary of the match, which I count myself lucky to have heard at the very least. For this very reason, my post-match thoughts won’t be too comprehensive since all I have to go on are the biased opinions of Messrs Lovett and Rimmer. Yep, he of Neil Rimmer’s Perm Fame.
From what I can gather, the afternoon wasn’t a complete disaster. After our previous result, it was good to follow up and actually consolidate, to use an oft-quoted term. By which I mean I’m glad we didn’t lose, even though you’d have thought a win might be up for grabs after ex-Ticsmon Lee Cattermole’s sending off relatively early in the piece.
We’re still waiting for the two Prem wins on the bounce under Bob, though. Our own Spanish Supremo went with the same side that somehow stole all three points at White Hart Lane two weeks ago with new boys Di Santo and Cleverley taking a seat on the bench at the DW (which is actually more like a series of plush car seats).
Al-Habsi retained his place in the Latics goal even though reports suggest Kirkland was fit enough to return to the fold. Then again, with Kirky, you never know what sorts of little niggles and knocks he might have picked up on the car journey to the game. Notwithstanding this, I (and indeed most) would say Bob had to go with the Omani on recent form.
By the sounds of things, Cattermole’s 22nd minute second yellow was a tad harsh, especially considering some later decisions from referee Andre Marriner. I shan’t comment on this too much as I still haven’t seen any match action. Still, his side put up more than a fight even with a man short, with some observers commenting they were good value for their point.
A double substitution not long after the 45 minute mark saw the introduction of Charles N’Zogbia (is he still at the club?) and Franco Di Santo for his Latics début with Latics pressurising the Sunderland goal. The departing Hendry Thomas and Ronnie Stam, by accounts, did well enough in their 55 minutes on the pitch but Martinez presumably wanted to switch to a more attacking setup.
Latics continued to come at the visitors but didn’t really create any clear cut chances. They would pay for their discrepancies as The Black Cats’ own débutante, Asamoah Gyan, put the ball in the net with Sunderland’s first chance of the second half on 66 minutes.
Wigan became sloppy, and for a period you wouldn’t have been able to tell which team was down to ten men. Memories of 2009/10 seemed to come flooding back as the minutes, and indeed atmosphere, ebbed away. Boselli missed a golden opportunity (termed the ‘sitter of the season’ by Graham Lovett) on the 70 minute mark, if anything making matters slightly worse for Latics. Mauro would be replaced by Tom Cleverley just a couple of minutes later, prolonging the Ten Million Dollar Man’s goalless start to the season.
Nothing seemed to happen for at least five minutes as the visitors’ timewasting proved effective in bringing the game to a complete halt. Top marks to the Sunderland side in this regard, nice to see the all hands to the pump ‘let’s hang on’ mentality alive and well in English football, even if the vast majority of Premier League players can’t seem to stay on their feet upon contact with a blade of grass.
Sorry, got a bit off topic there.
When proceedings finally resumed, Latics earned themselves a free kick in the opposition third with just a few minutes left of normal time. Rodallega’s ball fell to James McCarthy, whose shot deflected off Antolin Alcaraz, or perhaps a defender… and into the net for Wigan’s equaliser. Momentum seemed to shift once again, and with a truckload of stoppage time to come, we were all set for a potentially exciting finish.
Nothing much changed, with Latics looking to push for a winner and Sunderland attempting to keep the ball in the opposition half of the field. Wigan’s relative impotence in the final third would ensure the game remained at one each as the final whistle blew.
A good point? Well, on the whole, I’d say it’s acceptable. I think we’re going to need all the points we can get, and though it was frustrating to concede against ten men, a draw is definitely better than a loss. Look at it this way, it could have been much worse. At least we’re still above the relegation zone, just about.