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Wigan spirit earns a draw

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Wigan Athletic


2/01/2008 8pm

Attendance: 42,308


Latics travelled to the 2008 European City of Culture tonight hoping that some of the culture would rub off on them so that they could break their duck of never taking a point of the "big four"

It didnt look good when we were charged ten pounds for parking at Everton's ground.

As one Wiganer was overheard to say, 'I only want to park for the game not the week.'

In all honesty their was nothing g cultured about Latics performance in the end but the team spirit and commitment against a Liverpool side who played a good passing game but who contrived to miss a shedful of chances and when they did test their old boy Kirkland he passed with flying colours.

Latics made one change from Saturday`s home defeat with Heskey replacing Sibs in the starting line up.

The bench also had a stronger look with Koumas and Boyce returning from injury.

Liverpool strangely played 4-5-1 at home and for the first half it looked as if it would pay off.

Latics were almost totally on the back foot, Liverpool seemed content to try and walk the ball into the net and several times Kirkland was well placed to thwart first Torres and then Gerrard

Latics offered little going forward other than some sublime skill from Valencia who time and again was hacked down by the Liverpool defenders and the one real chance of the first half was a fizzer of a shot from Brown which had Reina scrambling across his goal.

At half time the Wigan fans were definitely the happier and if truth be told the noisier buoyed by the hard working defensive performance most notably from the centre halves and the centre midfielders.

Its over 25 games since Latics were last part of a nil all draw and true to form it didn`t happen again.

A poor clearance form an under pressure Scharner and the ball was quickly played back in to Torres who gave Kirkland no chance.

In the past against the top four away this has been the key for Latics to fold but under Steve Bruce this doesn`t happen.

Latics became more adventurous with Landzaat and Brown pushing forward and the front two of the unfit Heskey and underperforming Bent having a new lease of life.

Bruce replaced the industrious Taylor with the skilful Koumas a clear statement of intent that he believed we could get something out of this game.

However when the goal came it wasn`t from an expected source.

A poorly cleared free kick fell to Bramble on the edge of the area and his shot nearly broke the net and left Reina with no chance.

This left Latics with ten minutes to hang on and the more fatalistic of us expected us to concede again.

We would have done as well apart from a superb double save by Kirkland from Gerrard and a goal line clearance from Bramble his third of the game.

The final whistle was greeted by the travelling Latics army of around 1200 who celebrated as if we had won the cup final.

The curse of the top four has been broken

Star Player

Titus Bramble, emense,stupendous, superb, heroic etc

Player Ratings

Kirkland 8

Would have been the MOM but for Bramble, proved his critics (including me) wrong with some brilliant saves


A busy evening coping with the effervescent Kewell

Scharner 7

One a two errors but in a defensive performance that was to be expected

Titus Bramble 9

3 goal line clearances numerous goal saving tackles and the goal of the season. This guy has certainly proved his critics wrong

Kilbane 6

Lacks pace to be considered a true left back but gives 100% every time

Taylor 7

Worked hard , had little chance to show his set pieces, chased back time and again to support the back 4

Landzaat 7

Gets quite a bit of stick (unfairly in my opinion) covered every blade of grass superb display of defensive tackling

Brown 7

Same as Landzaat

Valencia 7

All Latics creative play comes from him, needs to get his crosses in more quickly

Bent 5

Out of shorts today, came to a bit in t he second half

Heskey 6

Willing but short on fitness

Manager Rating

Steve Bruce 8/10

Instilled the never give up mentality in the players to secure first ever point and first goal against Liverpool.

Ref Watch

Steve Bennett 7/10

One of his better performances, kept his card in his pocket for most of the game. Brown and Taylor could easily have been booked

Fan Watch

Wigan Fans 8/10

Out sung the "famous atmosphere" of Liverpool fans, a few sore throats (including mine) tomorrow

Date:Thursday January 3 2008
Time: 12:24AM

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Great report baskers.....fantastic night feels like we have won the cup! Buzzin absolutely buzzin
03/01/2008 00:27:00
Holding Liverpool at "Fortress Anfield" isnīt too shabby, but to be able to "keep the wheels on" the last ten minutes like you did without crumbling, that is pretty impressive stuff indeed..congrats.
Blue is the colour
03/01/2008 01:58:00
great report. i cant think of one match this season where bramble has been bad, the guy just keeps getting better and better!!
03/01/2008 09:19:00
Out sung us? What match were you at?
03/01/2008 10:00:00
To get a point at anfield is really something well done fellas - Titus Bramble 9 out of 10 - 3 goal line clearances numerous goal saving tackles and the goal of the season - This is the same Titus Bramble we all know and love isn't it.. there must be something in the water up there ..
04/01/2008 07:38:00
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