Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday May 15 2011
A must win game for the Latics ended in a win for the Latics in the most dramatic of fashions.
Trailing 0-2 at half-time it looked like Championship football would be on the menu for next season at the DW Stadium, but Latics master chef Roberto Martinez had other ideas and he stirred in some extra ingredients for the second half, introducing Sammon and Moses for a superb come back of biblical proportions.
Despite Wigan having most of the play West Ham led through two Demba Ba headers, the first one coming on 11 minutes following a poor clearance and then some poorer defending, the ball sent back into the area and Ba stuck his head on the ball and knocked it past Al-Habsi from two yards.
His second came 14 minutes later, heading in once again from close range, Latics responded and Robert Green in the West Ham goal saved well from both Diame and Rodallega, who had a point blank header instinctively saved by the England international.
The drama though was all set for the second period.
Martinez shuffled his deck at the break, Sammon and Moses replacing Cleverley and McCarthy.
Sammon was busy and stretched the West Ham back line whilst Moses was direct and his pace had the West Ham defence troubled, but the Latics got back into the game with the man in great goalscoring form, Charles N`Zogbia.
With 56 minutes on the clock N`Zogbia was fouled by Tomkins 20 yards out, the France international lined the free kick up and hit a sweet left footed drive into the far top corner, game on.
11 minutes later and it was 2-2, N`Zogbia slipped the ball through to Conor Sammon who found space in the box, the big Irishman cut back onto his right foot and hit the ball into the far corner of Robert Greens net for his first Latics goal, and what a time to get it.
The next 25 minutes or so saw some of the most dramatic end to end football ever witnessed at the DW Stadium, both teams going for the win that they both needed.
Ben Watson smashed a drive against the inside of the post and the ball rebounded agonisingly into the arms of Green, whilst at the other end Carlton Cole, on as a 74th minute sub, fumbled his lines two yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Conor Sammon went clean through and was upended by Danny Gabbidon but amazingly the officials waved play on when a free-kick for the Latics and a red card for Gabbidon should have been awarded.
Deep into stoppage time Charles N`Zogbia picked the ball up close to the West Ham deadball line, he skipped inside the area and hit a drive that squirmed under Greens body and into the net to give the Latics the lead 3-2, just seconds after the re-start and the match referee Mike Dean blew for full time, fantastic result, fantastic three points.
West Ham relegated, Latics live to fight another day
Date:Sunday May 15 2011
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