Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday December 30 2012
Three goals, two penalties missed by the officials, a clean sheet, but most importantly three points and out the relegation zone
Ivan Ramis was back in the side after a lengthy lay off through injury and it didn't take long for the classy Spaniard to announce his return
Just two minutes into the game a ball was pumped forward, Di Santo chased it down in the penalty area, but Villa defender Lowton got there first knocking the ball behind with his forearm, the Latics players shouting for penalty, the referee pointing for a corner
Jean Beausejour took the corner and banged in a great ball between the six yard box and penalty spot, Ivan Ramis made a run from the far post losing his marker and powered an unstoppable header past Brad Guzan from dead centre of the goals, 0-1
The second penalty appeal came shortly after the goal, Shaun Maloney had the ball on the dead ball line in the Villa box, midfield man Stephen Ireland came to challenge Maloney and took both feet from under him without making any contact with the ball, as clear a penalty as you'll see all season, not to Kevin Friend though who was refereeing the game, play on! What needs to happen for us to be awarded a spot kick?
The first twenty minutes of the game was just too easy for the Latics, they were in total control, the Villa players looked a team with no confidence chasing shadows. The Latics seemed to ease off slightly and this allowed the home side back into a game they should have been already well and truly out of, but without quality Villa didn`t create a chance worthy of note until the 44th minute when following a free kick Holman found himself free at the far post, he hit a first time effort on the stretch but it skimmed the bar and went out for a throw in
Just after the half-time break Benteke headed tamely over when well placed, that was the last we saw of Villa. On 52 minutes Emmerson Boyce scored a fantastic goal, picking the ball up just inside the Villa half, Boyce ran through the midfield, played a one-two on the edge of the box with Kone and, despite the presence of three Villa defenders, finished calmly by slotting home into the bottom far corner from 18 yards. 0-2
Four minutes later Arouna Kone finished off the scoring, Di Santo played the Ivory Coast international in with a delightful ball, Kone shrugged off a challenge, skipped round Guzan and slotted home into an empty net from an acute angle. 0-3
Latics always seem to deliver when it matters, they certainly did at Villa Park, but the significance of the return of Ivan Ramis to the starting line-up shouldn't be overlooked in the euphoria of the result, a class defender and a true leader on the pitch
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Date:Sunday December 30 2012
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