Latics managed to haul themselves out of the relegation zone with a much needed win at the DW Stadium.
For all our promising attacking play of late, goals seem to have been rather thin on the ground, especially in relation to some of our closest Premier League rivals. Still, one goal is often enough to win you a football match, and that proved to be the case this afternoon.
Nil apiece was a fair reflection of the first 45 minutes, with neither side imposing themselves enough to physically force the ball into the net. Latics bossed the opening stages, picking up where they left off on Wednesday night. They created no clear cut opportunities to speak of, however, despite the home’s side smooth passing and enterprising play in the first 15.
West Brom looked to hit Latics with the old sucker punch just as many teams have been doing of late. After some dodgy passing, which presented Wigan with the ball more often than the visitors would have liked, things settled down and they looked pretty good on the break, if a little short of men up front.
It was Albion who arguably had the best of the chances, though like their hosts they could not force the goalkeeper into any save of note. Midfielder James Morrison come close towards the end of the half, and Paul Scharner could not direct a header towards the Latics goal, but West Brom were just about on top going into the interval.
More of the same was to be seen in the second period up until the the hour mark, when both sides got their first real attempts on target within half a minute of each other as the game threatened to spark into life.
It was this kind of end-to-end swing which would result in Latics going a goal up with twenty minutes left on the clock. Victor Moses, on at half time in place of Jordi Gomez, offered a bit of pace on the right wing and troubled the West Brom defence from the moment he stepped into the fray.
The Baggies won a free kick on the edge of Latics’ area on 69 minutes. From this, the ball rebounded to Charles N’Zogbia, who went on one of his trademark marauding runs into opposition territory. Though he slipped and ended up on his backside, he managed to recover and compose himself once more to lay a pass off for Moses, who sent Scott Carson the wrong way. It was the kind of goal we’ve become accustomed to of late, except not as often as we would like.
A frustrated West Brom just could not make any in-roads. This irritation was summed up when Youssuf Mulumbu threw his gloves to the ground in mildly humorous fashion upon conceding a free kick to Ronnie Stam. It was never a foul, mind, so his annoyance was somewhat justified, but I half expected him to remove various other items of clothing when he was penalised later in the game.
With less than ten minutes remaining, Franco Di Santo found himself in a fantastic position just 7 yards from goal when the ball trickled its way towards him. Though he turned and managed to get a volleyed shot away, it would sail past Carson’s left hand post. At the time, I thought he’d never have a better opportunity to bag his first for Latics, but perhaps the chance was more difficult than on first look – maybe he would have been better served taking a touch.
Victor Moses sent a shot over the bar minutes later, following another misplaced pass –something which punctuated the game from both teams’ point of view– from the West Brom midfield.
As expected, the visitors bombarded the Latics penalty area at every opportunity, a bit like Blackburn last weekend. Points were definitely still at stake, and Latics’ defensive line was made to work to see out the final five minutes of normal time. A last minute corner was thankfully cleared and a shrill blast of ref Taylor’s whistle signalled an important win for Wigan — their third of the Premier League season.
After the disappointment of last week, this one has proved more fruitful with four points from two games. It doesn’t quite match Blackburn’s recent winning run –which incidentally came to an end at White Hart Lane this afternoon– but it’s definitely a start. One problem – next up is Man United. Ulp, better ready the aspirin.