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Wigan Athletic 1 - Newcastle United 0

JJB Stadium

23/12/07 3pm

Attendance: 20,304

Taylor seals Wigan win

The team news on the way to the ground re injured England strikers proved disappointing for both teams with Owen and Heskey failing to recover from their injuries in time.

Both teams made changes form their weekend draws with Wigan`s the more positive in welcoming back Melchiot and Sibs from suspension and injury respectively.

A good Boxing Day crowd boosted by the barcode hoards and a few hundred Wiganners in fancy dress created an atmosphere that in all honesty both teams failed to live up to.

Wigan started the brighter with in the in form Bent pressurising Faye who looked very slow all afternoon into a back pass to Given.

Newcastle were a very physical side with Faye and in particular Alan Smith looking the most likely to end up with a yellow Christmas card.

Mr Dean was it appeared in a particular festive mood and chose to ignore some fouls which merited a card, one which was a sandwich of Sibs resulting in a delay of over three minutes due to the referees refusal to allow the physio on even though Sibs was holding his head.

Indeed when the first booking arrived it was for Brown who ran into Emre bowling him over.

Where as there is no doubt it was a foul it was probably the least deserving of a yellow card than those which preceded it.

Brown was simply inspirational today , he chased every ball down, closed down a Newcastle midfield without Joey Barton which didn`t seem up for the battle.

He was ably supported by Bent up front and Valencia in midfield while Taylor and Landzaat attempted to clear up any stray balls and close the opposition down.

At the back Bramble who was booed by the barcodes when his name was announced before kick off superbly marshalled the others to their first clean sheet in 16 games.

Indeed Latics first half dominance was so complete that Newcastle didn`t have a shot in anger for Kirkland to deal with.

Latics had one shot from Scharner easily dealt with by Given but looked dangerous from the set pieces fired in by Taylor

Valencia was dangerous on the right wing and delivered some testing crosses which unfortunately, no one could get on the end of.

Newcastle started the second half looking the brighter and the game sprang into life with some choice tackles from both sides which drew the admiration of both sets of fans for their commitment.

When the breakthrough came it was no surprise that it was Taylor who provided it.

A free kick due to a foul on Brown was curled round the wall past the despairing dive of Shay Given.

Taylor almost made it two a few minutes later blasting a shot with little back lift which Given did well to tip round for a corner.

Sibs was replaced by Agahowa and Taylor by Olembe and Julius almost made himself a hero with a rasping shot which hit the side netting.

Newcastle tried to play themselves back into the goal but their only real chance came when a mix up between Kirkland and Melchiot allowed the ball to spoon up towards the empty net only for the much maligned ex Newcastle player Bramble to comfortably head the ball away to safety.

Valencia continued to trouble the Newcastle defence and only lack of support in the box prevented Latics from adding to their goals tally

The final whistle was greeted with shouts of joy from the Wiganners as 7 points from 9 at home moved us out of the bottom three and boos for a Newcastle team from their own fans that didn`t seriously trouble Kirkland who hadn`t kept a clean sheet in 16 games.

Conclusion

It wasn`t pretty but a hard working performance with masses of team spirit earned a deserved home win for the Latics

Star Player

Star Man

Brown…9/10

Was absolutely everywhere in both defence and going forward. Hopefully he can reproduce this every week.

Player Ratings


Kirkland… 6

Very little to do but lack of authority in his area again nearly cost us dear.

Melchiot… 7

Just class

Bramble… 8

Shut up the Newcastle boo boys with a towering display. Better than any of the away team`s defenders.

Scharner …7

Looks a lot more comfortable in the back four

Killer…7

Keeps putting his body on the line. Another solid performance

Valencia…8

Latics main creative outlet. Needs to be signed on a permanent contract ASAP

Landzaat…7

Worked hard to support the MOM Brown.

Brown…9

Was absolutely everywhere in both defence and going forward. Hopefully he can reproduce this every week

Taylor…7.5

A lot of dangerous set pieces and defended well.

Bent…8

Few clear cut chances but his persistence caused problems for Newcastle`s back four all afternoon

Sibierski….7

Was kicked all over the park today but battled away for an hour, clearly not fit

Aghahowa…6

Looked better on the ball today and one good shot but doesn`t track back and support the team

Olembe… 6

A few lunging tackles and got caught out of position a few times

Manager Rating

Steve Bruce…8/10

Has got the players fitter and more committed. Needs to buy wisely in the transfer window as the squad is under strength.

Referee Watch

Mike Dean,,,5/10 Some very odd decisions




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The Journalist

Writer: baskerville Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday December 26 2007

Time: 8:08PM

Your Comments

MoM was between Brown and Taylor for me Taylor just shaded it although I do agree Brownie was magnificent
worbo
good review basker, great to have a clean sheet, a win, remove us from the bottom 3, let alone guys like Brown having an inspired performance. Bruce has made huge inroads already, now the key is to maintain it
Sprayzen
 

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