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Wigan secure vital win

Wigan Athletic
2 - 0
Birmingham City

JJB Stadium

5/04/2008

Attendance: 17,926

Referee:

Much had been made in the pre-match build up about the desire of the Birmingham players to put one over on their old boss.

In the end however Wigan emerged the winners thanks to a double strike from Ryan Taylor and aided by a reckless tackle from Damian Johnson which rightly earned him a straight red and a three match ban.

Latics made one change from last week welcoming the returning Wilson Palacios to face his old club allowing Paul Scharner to return to the centre of defence alongside Emerson Boyce at the expense of Erik Hagen.

Latics started like an express train with Melchiot and Valencia once again highlighting their attacking partnership.

This partnership almost bore fruit as early as the second minute Bent unable to convert the first of many chances he received all afternoon. by blasting the ball into row Z

With Palacios driving forward from midfield at every opportunity and seeking to release Valencia it seemed only a matter of time before Wigan scored.

It was no surprise therefore that Birmingham were pressurised by a Valencia cross the ball fell to Taylor who showed that last weeks penalty miss hadn`t affected his confidence by blasting the ball past the stranded Maik Taylor.

Valencia was a constant threat all afternoon turning the hapless left back inside out.

He fired a rasping cross over which saw Bent unable to react and the ball fell to Heskey whose goal bound shot was blocked.

The last time Mike Dean referred Wigan he sent two players off and today he continued the trend by sending off Johnson for a two footed lunge on Kevin Kilbane

Kilbane true to form immediately got up and pleaded with the referee not to send him off but it was the correct decision.

Latics continued to dominate and could have gone in at half time four or five goals to the good.

The most memorable attempt was a cross from Valencia was badly cleared, the ball falling to Killer to blasted a shot past Taylor hitting the far post and bouncing clear.

Birmingham offered little going forward the only real effort in the first half coming from Mc Sheffery which Kirkland got down well to save

Latics started the second half in much the same vein, Heskey should have done better in the 467th minute firing wide when advancing on goal.

It seemed only a matter of time before Latics added tot heir tally and when it did there was an air of controversy about it.

A cross from Valencia was headed back across goal by Bent, the ball appearing to go out for a goal kick before being crossed by Scharner and in the melee that followed Taylor notched his second goal of the game.

Birmingham in truth offered very little and Latics at two nil up seemed content to sit back and control the game although there were chances to add to the score with a goal line clearance by Martin Taylor from a lob by Bent and a poor shot from Skoko.

The final whistle was greeted by clenched fists of celebration from Melchiot and whilst we are not safe yet we certainly looking a good bet for a fourth season in the Premier League with other results going our way.

For Birmingham a woeful performance suspensions and injuries mean a worrying few weeks to the end of the season.

Star Player

Antonio Valencia

Fantastic display from the Ecuadorian

Player Ratings


Kirkland………7

Had very little to do but did it right when he had to

Melchiot………….8

Was booed by the Brum fans in the first half but silenced them with a captain`s performance

Boyce……………7

Another no frills performance from Mr Reliable

Scharner……….7.5

Being back in his best position coincides with another clean sheet

Kilbane…………7

Unlucky not to score, worked hard.

Palacios………8

Excellent performance from the Honduran both in a defensive and offensive stance.

Valencia………..9

All our creative play comes through him.

Skoko……….6

Looked off the pace and was caught in possession too often.

Taylor…….8

Worked hard in a defensive midfield and took his goals well.

Heskey……7

Kept going and was a handful all afternoon, should have done better with the chances he had.

Bent……….7

Could have scored a hat trick but for some woeful finishing but worked his socks off all afternoon and deserves a 7 for his effort.

Manager Rating

Bruce….9

Got the team just right and focussed.


Writer:baskerville
Date:Saturday April 5 2008
Time: 6:44PM

Comments

0
Great result today, this just about guarantees Prem survival and to top it off it looks like bye bye Bolton....get in
worbo
05/04/2008 18:46:00
0
The red card challenge was awful!
Fan of Blues
05/04/2008 18:48:00
0
Johnson looked fired up before the challenge and I thought he would end up doing something rash
worbo
05/04/2008 18:49:00
0
Bruce has done wonders with you lot and with some financial backing in the summer you can only get better!
merlin
05/04/2008 19:38:00
0
Are you worried about next Monday merlin?
worbo
05/04/2008 19:48:00
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