Wigan Performance Taylor Made for Bruce
St James Park
Steve Bruce must wonder whether to call in a psychiatrist after Wigan displayed once again their schizophernic tenadancies, following an abject performance at Arsenal with one full of commitment, passion and no little skill.
The talk amongst the latics fans on the concourse prior to the game ( once they had ahd their oxygen for climbing 127 steps) was the absence of Zaki, Heskey and Melchiot.
Indeed add Koumas to the mix and the first Premier League call ups for youngsters Kupisz, Cwyka and Routledge and Wigans already paper thin squad was clearly down to the bare bones.
Steve Bruce employed a 4-4-2 formation with Taylor on the left wing, Scharner at centre back and Boyce moving to right back to replace Melchiot. Up front a new partnership of Kapo and Camara was formed. A new captain for the day was Lee Cattermole who made history by being our youngest ever captain.
Latics started the brighter but nothing looked on when Taylor found himself just outside the penalty area after 3 minutes.He flicked it with the outside of his right boot and the ball sailed over the scrambling Given into the corner and Latics were one ahead.The 1,000 or so travelling fans went wild with delight and Taylor himself ran straight to Bruce no doubt asking for his contract extension!!
Latics dominated the midfield battle with the tackles flying fast and furious, the battle between the bete noire Barton and Cattermole was shaping up to be a classic but following one tackle from Lee, Barton limped off to be replaced by Guthrie.
In attack Newcastle offered little and when they did get through they found Kirkland once again in imperious form.Their only clear chance of the first half fell to Martins but his shot was well blocked by Kirkland's legs.
Up front Camars and Kapo formed an impressive understanding and caused trouble all afternoon for the Newcastle back four which looked porous all afternoon.
Mr Marriner the referee was inconsistent in his judgement of tackles, one particular one on Palacios with a raised elbow passing without comment but an innocuous tackle by Boyce earning a yellow
Half time was met by a chorus of boos from the home side's fans but rapturous applause from the Latics fans.
Last season Latics suffered the in justice of having Kilbane sent off early int he second half for two ill deserved yellow cards and with Latics players collecting them like Christmas cards it seemd only a matter of time before we were down to ten men.
As it happened we lasted ten minutes, the ball broke down the Latics right with Ameobi, ll reports state that Boyce got the ball but once again an official made an error with Latics reducing us to ten men and Latics were under the cosh.
Newcastle sensing blood poured forward and Latics were fourced itno some desperate defending agaisnt a Newcastle team with Martins, Ameobi and Owen up front. Owen in particular was profligate infront of goal heading wide when it seemed eaqsier to score.
Latics looked dangerous on the break however agaisnt soem embarassing defending. Camara turned the defence inside out and got itno the penalty area on the left, he was pushed int he act of shooting( no penalty what a surprise) and the shot beat Given, hit the far post and came out.
Latics were made to apy for this miss, a powerful shot from Ameobi was well saved by Kirkland but the power mmeant he was unable to hold it and the ball fell to Owen who slotted it home.
Newcasatle pressed forward again in search of a winned and they must have thought they had it when a superb shot from Martins left Kirkland with no chance.
This should have been the cue for Latics to fold but roarted on by the fanatical following they pressed forward and a pin point corner was met by a bullet header from Bramble which hit the net via Duff nearly taking Duff into the net with it. This sparked a celebration not seen since Sheffield United away as Latics fans hugged and kissed anyone within a two mile range.
Full time was met with a chant of, 'there's only one Titus Bramble' but a feeling of once again inept referring had cost us two point
Latics new captain led by example. He was a tremendous motivating force on the pitch.
Respecting the Referees