Latics v Fulham Report
Chris Hutchins used his get out of gaol card today when his second half substitution of Skoko for the ineffective Cotterill sparked a lacklustre Wigan into action when the game had been drifting towards a dull and boring defeat.
The surprising news before the kick off was the absence of Rachid Bouazoun on the bench and the inclusion of David Cotterill in the starting line up.
The game started off with a round of applause for England`s number nine Emile Heskey and was quickly repeated when he limped off in the ninth minute with a suspected metatarsal injury.
Latics had to quickly re-group with Marcus Bent coming o0n for his home debut but he had hardly had chance to work up a sweat when Kamara strolled through a day dreaming defence and put in Dempsey who fired pass the approaching Kirkland.
And that was about it for the first half, the rest of the half was played out in midfield with the occasional forays forwards from both sides but with no shots on goal.
Latics only looked dangerous from corners with Koumas causing palpatations in the Fulham defence at every corner and Granqvist winning every ball without testing Niemi in the Fulham goal.
Indeed we witnessed what is probably the earliest time wasting seen at the JJB with Niemi taking an eternity with every dead ball.
Fulham were playing the far more attractive football and Bouazza who Latics were linked with when he was at Watford was giving Melchiot a particularly torrid time. Latics resorted to the long ball game so maligned last season
Half time was a welcome relief from the turgid fayre on offer and it was difficult to tell whether the boos were for the performance of the players or for the inconsistent decisions of the officals.
Latics started the second half with more urgency Koumas looking particularly dangerous every time he got the ball.
Granqvist and especially Bramble looked assured in the centre of the defence. The central midfielders however failed to deliver much quality ball forward until the inclusion of Skoko for the underperforming Cotterill.
Skoko had played 50 plus minutes for Australia against Argentina in the week and if he was jet lagged he certainly didn`t show it putting in a 30 minute performance reminiscent of Jimmy Bullard at his best.
Bent looked quick up front and on several occasions put the ball through the centre only for Siberski and then Aghahowa to fail to deliver.
When the equaliser came it was a surprise to all watching the game as for all Wigan`s effort we hadn`t looked like scoring except a rasping drive from Koumas which narrowly missed the far post.
Melchiot linking up with Scharner drifted into the box and was cut down . Mr Styles whi hadn`t adhered himself to the Wigan faithful as per usual pointed to the spot
Jason Koumas`s first goal for Wigan with a cooly taken 81st minute penalty gave Wigan a point which they barely deserved.
This seemed to lift the team and Wigan could have won it with Scharner flicking the ball behind him straight at Niemi and Aghahowa snatching a through ball when had he taken the time he had would have enabled us to see his legendary back flip
Heskey`s injury once again serves to emphasised our lack of forward options and unless a free agent is brought in such as Mo Kallon it may be a long autumn.
All in all a poor day at the office for Mr Hutchings and it is to be hoped that our new signings as well as our injured players are back soon as with big games coming up we need all the points we can get.