Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday September 30 2012
Stadium of Light
Wigan Athletic went to Sunderland with high hopes of returning with at least a point from the game, the point that they did return with was a metaphorical one after a display of inconsistent refereeing of the highest order by the FA's darling Howard Webb.
During the week Latics boss Roberto Martinez decided to challenge the FA's decision to punish him for remarks made about Michael Oliver following the young ref's, let's say, a little less than consistent performance as Manchester United were awarded a string of decisions against Latics getting nowt
Well as though to make a point Howard Webb's performance yesterday at the Stadium of Light made Oliver look like UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon when it comes to fairness
A string of decisions that left most observers baffled and Latics fans infuriated, if this fellow is the best that the Premier League has to offer then no wonder the rest are always in the news
The game itself saw the Latics start the strongest of the two sides, James McCarthy had a decent effort after a couple of minutes, skipping to the edge of the box the young midfielder lashed a shot that Sunderland keeper Mignolet did well to turn away.
Five minutes later the Belgium international thwarted the Latics again, Figueroa hit a 30 yard pass to Jean Beausejour who brilliantly took one touch to control the ball and before it hit the ground he whipped in a glorious cross that eluded the Sunderland defence, Arouna Kone slipped his marker and stole in at the far post to get a great connection on the ball, the move had goal written all over it, unfortunately Mignolet produced a world class save to keep the scores level at 0-0
There were half chances for either side before the break, Ivan Ramis did well to clear one off the line, but Latics were shading the play as the teams went for their half-time cuppa's
Two minutes after the restart the fun and games began, Jordi Gomez and Danny Rose challenged for a 50/50, Rose got there first, Gomez was shown a red and the Latics down to ten men.
A sending off? Never, if players get sent off for challenges like that games would finish with no players on the field, both players challenged in equal fashion, Rose rolled about like he'd had his leg broke, Webb couldn't wait to get the red card out
Two minutes later Sunderland winger James McLean cut inside Emmerson Boyce, crossed to the far post where Steven Fletcher stole in, 1-0
Sunderland took the initiative, they were a man up and though the Latics tried hard they couldn't create any clear cut chances, Sunderland players flew into a few challenges, McLean and Fletcher could easily have received their marching orders for two bookables, but Webb was reluctant to dish out punishment to the home side, or so it appeared, especially when Larsson went two footed, knee high straight through Kone, missed the ball, Kone stayed on his feet though, so Webb gave Sunderland the free-kick!
Both Miyaichi and McManaman were introduced late on, the Premier League though isn't the Capital One cup and in my opinion they aren't ready, yet
Frustrating afternoon, made worse by some dreadful refereeing decisions, we need to get back on track, sharpish
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Date:Sunday September 30 2012
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