Date:Tuesday December 27 2011
Although Manchester United knocked five goals past the Latics, the biggest talking point of this game was the performance of match referee Phil Dowd who, controversially sent off Conor Sammon on 40 minutes and gave United a penalty on 78 minutes for an offence that occurred outside the penalty box.
Latics fell behind in the 8th minute when Patrice Evra was allowed to skip his way to the by-line by both Moses and Alcaraz, the United captain pulled the ball back and an unmarked Park side footed home from eight yards, 1-0.
Ronnie Stam was proving to be Latics most creative player, three times he sent fabulous balls into the United box, on one occasion Sammon appeared to 'duck' with the goal at his mercy, two other great crosses couldn't be capitalised on with both Sammon and Moses unable to anticipate the quality of the balls and glorious chances went begging.
Any chance that the Latics had of getting back in the game were dealt a massive blow on 40 minutes, McCarthy knocked the ball back to Al-Habsi, the Latics keeper hit a punt up field, Sammon and Carrick jostled, Dowd blew his whistle and outrageously sent the Latics striker from the pitch for the alleged use of an elbow, it would have been hard to justify a free kick for the offence it was that innocuous.
A disbelieving Sammon sees red
By permission of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic
Two minutes later and to rub salt in the wounds, Berbatov handed off Alcaraz four yards out, the United striker had time to allow the ball to bounce twice before firing past Al-Habsi, 2-0.
Martinez made a change at half-time, taking off Diame to give Di Santo the role of holding the front line, but it made no difference with referee Dowd reluctant to give Latics any decisions, the Latics were facing an uphill battle, Berbatov grabbed his second and United's third on 58 minutes, a superb turn in the area left Caldwell struggling and Berbatov hit a first time toe poke that flashed passed Al-Habsi, 3-0
Valencia got in on the act on 75 minutes, when he picked up a ball just inside the Latics box, he hit a wicked shot the flew into the far corner giving Ali no chance, 4-0.
Three minutes later the scoring was complete, Park made a run, he was caught by Alcaraz just outside the box, referee Dowd though intervened and gave a penalty, up stepped Berbatov and calmly stroked home for his hat-trick, 5-0.
Here's hoping this is the last we see of Phil Dowd for a while, a thoroughly incompetent performance
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Date:Tuesday December 27 2011
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