Latics left to rue missed opportunity
DW Stadium, Wigan
Such was Latic`s performance against the billionaires of Manchester City (both with eleven and then ten men) today, that this will seem like two points lost.
Latics` team of no names more than held their own against their more illustrious ( an expensive opponents ) and had Wigan had a striker up front instead of the industrious but limited Scotland then we would have been celebrating a win and three points instead of a draw.
Martinez opted to start with the same team which lost against Hull on their last outing, keeping faith with Scharner in the attacking midfield role.
Rodallega was again on the wing with Scotland who Martinez had praised during the week remaining in the striker role.
Both sides started brightly with N`Zogbia looking particular sharp cutting in from the right wing three times in the first twenty minutes , unfortunately his shots failed to trouble Given in the City goal.
City belying their "fancy dan" reputation showed that they were not afraid to mix it with Zabeleta and De Jong particularly fierce in the tackle.
For Latics Diame and Thomas once again showed that they are developing a particular fine understanding in midfield and worked hard at limiting the effectiveness of Tevez and Barry, reducing Adebayor to chasing lost causes.
Latics passing at times was a delight to watch the only concern being that they created hardly any clear cut chances for Scotland who when he did get the ball seemed incapable of doing anything constructive with it.
Rodallega tested Given with a fierce shot which the Irishman did well to deal with.
Thhe goal when it came was testimony to the determination of N`Zogbia, who seemd to be very much second best to reach a shot from Rodallega which had been parried by Given. The diminutive Frenchman wasn`t to be denied and slid in to open the scoring.
At the start of the second half Wigan as they did against Chelsea kept their opponents waiting to start the second half forcing City to keep warm in the cold of the DW stadium.
It was Wigan who were caught cold however, when within 90 seconds of the half starting the game was all square. A Latics move broke down on the left leaving Figueroa out of position, Tevez`s blistering pace enabled him to break and his cross evaded the chasing Latics defence, falling to the gloved Petrov who gave Kirkland with no chance.
For the next fifteen minutes City were in the ascendancy with Bramble once again magnificent for Latics at the back and Melchiot looking to counter attack at every opportunity.
The key moment came in the 65th minute when Zabelata who had been lucky when Alan Wiley had missed what appeared to be a deliberate handball a minute earlier, lunged at Scotland. Wiley showed no hesitation and gave the defender his second yellow and for the second home game in succession Latics were up against ten men.
City showed great resilience however as you would expect from a side managed by Mark Hughes and Wigan failed to capitalise, persevering with a lone striker and replacing Scharner with the ineffective Gomez.
Wigan still had chances however, with Rodallega and Diame both going close, whilst at the other end Wright-Phillips had a good shout for a penalty waved away by the referee.
Full time brought applause from both sets of fans, who had been served up a feast of entertainment but in the end, Latics probably feel that they let a victory slip away