Date:Saturday October 20 2007
baskerville reports from the JJB
Wigan lost their second consecutive home game today and have now gone over 200 minutes without scoring.
The team news prior to kick off was mixed, Melchioot and Valencia failing to recover from hamstring and knee injuries respectively but Koumas being passed fit after missing the Wales internationals.
Boyce moved to right back to replace Melchiot with Granqvist coming in at centre half with Landzaat starting in centre midfield as captain with Sibs partnering Bent up front
Hreidarsson and Campbell were both passed fit for Pompey and Harry Rednapp must have been relieved as they were both inspirational in a resolute defence.
The game started brightly and within five minutes Wigan were to have their one and only good opportunity, a flick on from Granqvist found Scharner at the back post who headed against the post.
This proved to be a false dawn as a lacklustre Wigan struggled to create any meaningful play.
The passing was disjointed, there was very little ball through to the front two and both wingers seemed to move infield to often narrowing the play.
Having said that Pompey weren`t any better, where as their passing was more crisp and the front two looked more sharp( when they stopped theatrically falling in the penalty area) there rarely troubled Kirkland who had one shot to stop and was well beaten by another which hit the post.
Just on half time Sibs who seemed to be singled out for some special attention won a free kick, Koumas curled it round the wall but the ball looped over the bar.
Fans were wondering whether Hutchins half time team talk would galvanise the team but it was more of the same.
The back four looked comfortable Bramble in particular dealing with anything and everything thrown at him.
Sibs was replaced part way through the second half with back problems after falling heavily under a challenge being replaced by Agahowa whose first action was to get booked for raising his foot into the back on a Pompey defender.
His second was to count stars after blocking a fierce free kick with his head and that was the sum total of his useful contributions.
With no side looking remotely like scoring it began to look like we would hold on for a nil- nil draw however on the 80th minute Muntari crossed from the left to Benjani who got in front of the defence to beat the advancing Kirkland.
This sparked the Wigan walk with large number of fans leaving from all the stands
Any hope that this would spur Wigan into action was false as the players visibly drooped at this goal and with no substitutions happening they attempted to push forward without any real urgency and were caught again when Glen Johnson beat Kirkland again.
For the first time this season boos could be held around the ground and these were magnified at full time.
The only reason they weren`t louder is because there was less than a third of the crowd left at the end except for the very happy Pompey fans who were travllig home with three points without playing well.
With a big game coming up against one of our relegation rivals next week at Birmingham( and we are in the mire no doubt about it ) it will be a test of Hutchins managerial skills to lift the team and get them playing football again.
Next weeks game at Birmingham is a real 6 pointer
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Date:Saturday October 20 2007
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