Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Monday December 27 2010
A fantastic victory at Molineux set the Banana Men dancing as the Latics beat Wolves to move out of the bottom three and reach the dizzy heights of 16th in the Premier League table.
As is tradition in Wigan and especially amongst the Latics fraternity, fancy dress was the order of the day for the travelling fans, with a large contingent dressed as bananas the away section of the ground had a colourful look about it.
The game itself was also a colourful affair and the first chance fell to the Latics just 4 minutes in, James McArthur, starting for the suspended Hendry Thomas, won a ball in the midfield, laid the pass out wide to Ronnie Stam, the Dutchman floated a lovely ball into the Wolves box and McArthur arrived unmarked but headed tamely straight at Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey.
Latics didn`t have to wait long though to take the lead, on nine minutes a second corner in quick succession was headed out to the edge of the box, James McArthur put the ball back in, Gary Caldwell flicked his heal at the ball looping it up and onto the edge of the six yard box where Hugo Rodallega was waiting.
The Colombian hitman swivelled smartly and fired across Hennessey into the bottom far corner, a great poachers goal and the Latics were in the ascendancy.
On 20 minutes Rodallega picked up the ball from a throw-in just outside the 18 yard box, he slipped a wonderful through pass into the path of the oncoming Tom Cleverley who hit a side-footed shot first time under the body of Hennessey, 2-0 Latics in control.
An improvised save from Latics keeper Ali Al-Habsi kept the Latics two goals to the good. Wolves were awarded a free kick to the right of the 18 yard box, David Edwards hit the ball towards the bottom right corner of the goal, but it stroke Tom Cleverley on the back and diverted in the other direction, Al-Habsi already committed to his left somehow managed to stick out his leg and clear the ball on the goal line, great stuff.
Wolves pressed and played their football at a frenetic rate, but there was no control, though they had two penalty shouts, both were rightly turned down by Wirral ref Mike Dean.
First Wolves forward Stephen Ward threw himself theatrically to the ground under pressure from Steve Gohouri who himself was being fouled, then Antolin Alcaraz was thought to have handled in the box when replays showed that it was Ebanks-Blake who had got his arm to the ball, both incidents were hotly protested by Wolves players who had a sense of desperation about them.
Indeed Wolves players seemed to go down quite easily considering they are a big, strong physical bunch, must have been at the Howard Webb 'art of winning free-kicks in the Premier League` lesson with the Blackpool squad.
The second half saw the Latics hit mainly on the break as they held Wolves back with a controlled display of defensive football protecting their two goal lead, in fairness they never looked in danger of conceding and could have increased their lead when Cleverley, Rodallega and N`Zogbia all had chances.
Gary Caldwell making his first start since November 13th was magnificent at the heart of defence and looked like he`d never been away.
Wolves snatched a consolation goal on 87 minutes which should have set up a rousing finish, but the Latics were so much in control that they just took the sting out of the game to ensure that the Banana Men`s trip back to Wigan was a happy one
Date:Monday December 27 2010
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