Date:Thursday January 29 2009
JJB Stadium, Wigan
Wigan took a deserved point,thanks to a late goal from debutant Mido and almost won it with a superb free kick from another debutant Rodellaga.
Steve Bruce was forced to make five changes from the side which narrowly lost to Man City. Palacios and Heskey having departed to pastures new and Bramble suspended. To add to this key players Valencia and Kirkland were out injured.
The replacements brought in were Pollitt, Brown,De Ridder, Boyce and new loan signing Mido and against one of the best sides in the Prmeier League, this was expected to be a stern test of our squad depth.
In all honesty it was a test we failed in the first half, when a Liverpool side passed us off the park, with our midfield hanging back off the reds and creating nothing for the front two.
Liverpool almost scored early on when a header from Torres, was allowed to sail past Pollitt and appeared to be going wide, when the ball hit the far post and rolled along the line but thankfully stayed out.
Pollitt was again found wanting when he failed to hold onto a powerful shot but thankfully Melchiot was on hand to clear the ball.
WIgan's best chance in the first half came unsurprisingly from a set piece. A corner was cleared and as the ball was headed back in, the Liverpool back line raced out, however Boyce had beat the offside trap but a woeful header sailed well over the bar.
Wigan also had two good shouts for penalties in the first half, one for handball and one for a foul on Scharner, which appeared a clear cut penalty, however Wigan's favourite referee Phil Dowd wasn't impressed with the Wigan claims.
The second half was a different story. Lee Cattermole ably supported by Michael Brown's willing running, took the game to Liverpool and Liverpool looked shaken. What Wigan lacked was any creative balls from the wingers, with both De Ridder and Taylor espicially looking out of their depth.
Bruce finally exhausted his patience with his winger and removed De Ridder and replaced him with the enigmatic Koumas. Koumas is probably the most skilful player in the club behind Valencia , blessed with the ability to take players on with both feet and shoot powerfully with either foot. The problem is he doesn't deliver often enough but today was one of those days when he did.
Koumas looked sharp as soon as he came on, showing a willingness to come inside and take players on and supplying good balls to the front two.
Koumas earned Wigan the penalty, when he broke down the left with Lucas trailing him, as Lucas was about to tackle him, Koumas flicked the ball with his wrong foot passed the Brazilian and as Lucas lunged, he fell over leaving Mr Dowd with no option but to award the penalty.
Mido showed his confidence by waving away Camara and insisting on taking the penalty. With the Wigan fan's holding their collective breaths, Mido cooly send Riera the wrong way for a deserved equiliser.
Liverpool poured forward in search of the winner but the Wigan back four who were collectively and individually superb tonight held firm.
In the first minute of injury time, Wigan nearly won the game. Koumas broke this time on the right and was cruelly hacked down. Debutant Rodellaga stepped up and with Riera floundering he rattled the cross bar and Liverpool escaped.
The final whistle brought cheers of joy from the Wigan fans and groans of despair from the Liverpool fans from another disappointing performance.
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Date:Thursday January 29 2009
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