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Match Report Archive

Wigan Athletic 1 Burnley 1

NATIONWIDE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO - JJB STADIUM - Saturday 27th November 1999
 

WIGAN ATHLETIC
Haworth 41

1-1
BURNLEY
Payton 16

LATICS attracted a record home League attendance for this keenly awaited top-of-the-table clash - and then suffered a terrible bout of stage fright!

A crowd of 11.986 passed through the JJB Stadium's turnstiles, but the home faithful were forced to squirm in their seats for the first half-hour as Burnley gave John Benson's boys the run-around.

In that opening 30 minutes, Latics fell behind, couldn't string two passes together, and rarely got within sight of the visitors' goal.

Thankfully, they started to rediscover their form in the minutes leading upto the interval, and Simon Haworth's 12th goal of the campaign levelled things up.

After such a dreadful first half showing, Latics went on to enjoy the majority of the play in the second, but couldn't find the killer in front of goal.

Burnley, too, had a couple of late chances to snatch victory, although at the final whistle both sides appeared content with a share of the spoils.

That's 19 unbeaten in the League now for Latics, and the club record of 21 could be matched before Christmas if results at Scunthorpe next week and at home to Brentford on December 18 are favourable.

More importantly, they are still leading the division, albeit on goal difference - and are averaging a shade over 2 points a game.

That's promotion form in anyone's books if it's continued over the course of the season, even if the actual displays aren't quite matching up tp anyone's expectations.

The opening exchanges of this derby clash were tense and scrappy, with theevents off the pitch grabbing most of the attention.

Overcrowding in the North Stand holding the 5,000 Burnley supporters saw a section of them force their into the as yet unopened East Stand.

A small group made their way across the stand to goad the Latics fans at the other end of the ground, and it took most of the first half for stewards and police to restore order.

On the pitch, Burnley midfielder Paul Cook was booked for a crude tackle on Andy Liddell after just nine minutes, while most of the action centred on the Latics goalmouth.

Steve Davis headed a cross form Glen Little wide of the target, while the returning Roy Carroll had to punch a cross from Cook behind for a corner with Gordon Armstrong closing in.

But it was that flag-kick which led to Burnley taking the lead after 17 minutes.

Cook drilled over the corner, Carroll came off his line to try and punch clear but failed to make contact, and the ball dropped to Little on the far side of the box.

He chipped the ball back into the middle with Carroll still out of position, ANDY PAYTON rose to head home from six yards.

Latics suffered a further blow six minutes later when Kevin Sharp was forced to leave the pitch with a broken nose, Darren Sheridan coming off the bench to take up the left-wing-back's role.

As the half went on, Latics started to find their feet and Stuart Barlow had their first shot of the game in the 31st minute - his 25-yard effort smacking into the chest of keeper Paul Crichton.

At the other end, Cook whistled a long-range drive just wide of the near-post, while a free-kick from Davis struck the wall and went for a corner.

With half-time approaching and the home fans preparing to voice their disapproval, Latics equalised after 41 minutes.

A quickly taken throw-in from Scott Green on the right wing found Barlow on the side of the box.

He crossed low into the middle and slack marking allowed HAWORTH to turn sharply and fire a shot past Crichton from seven yards.

That was the Welshman's fourth goal in three games since his return from injury, and his overall contribution to the game suggests that he is nearing his best form.

With the goal in the locker and no doubt a few home truths from Benson in the dressing room, Latics looked a different side in the second half.

Just 21 seconds had been played when Liddell's cross found Barlow in the middle, but he got his angles all wrong and steered a header well wide of the far post.

Haworth saw a shot blocked by a defender after a pass from Green had set him up, while O'Neill volleyed straight at Crichton after the visitors had only half cleared a Sheridan free kick.

Barlow, looking for a seventh league goal in as many games, curled a shot wide of the post from the edge of the area after an hour, and should have added to his remarkable tally nine minutes later.

A slide-rule pass from Haworth carved open the Burnley defence putting Barlow through on goal. He reached the pass a yard inside the box and lifted the ball over Crichton who was diving at his feet, but the effort dropped agonisingly the wrong side of the woodwork.

In the 73rd minute, a cross from the industrious Liddell picked out substitute Roberto Martinez at the near post, but his shot was beaten away by Crichton for a corner.

Much of the play was being channelled through Liddell who was playing a role wide on the right in an attempt to exploit Burnley left back Armstrong's lack of pace.

And when Armstrong was replaced by Graham Branch - normally a speedy winger - the idea to switch him from his usual striker's role looked spot on.

Latics were given a fright four minutes later when Little broke clear down the left wing, shrugged off the challenge of Green, and aimed a cross to the far post.

Payton stole a yard on the defence but couldn't quite get his head to the ball.

Late pressure from Latics saw Arjan de Zeeuw head a free-kick from Liddell over the bar, while Crichton managed to grab a low cross from Liddell at the foot of the post with Green homing in.

But the draw was almost snatched away from them in the second minute of stoppage time.

Payton's cross from the right found substitute Alan Lee unmarked in the middle but with nearly the whole goal to aim at, he headed striahgt into the arms of a grateful Carroll from close range.

Match Report by Dave Seddon - Wigan Evening Post

Referee: Trevor Jones (Dalton-in-Furness)
Attendance: 11,986
LINE UP
WIGAN ATHLETIC BURNLEY
1 Roy Carroll 1 Paul Crichton
15 Scott Green 2 Dean West
3 Kevin Sharp 6 Gordon Armstrong
4 Pat McGibbon 3 Mitchell Thomas
14 Stuart Balmer 5 Stephen Davis
6 Arjan De Zeeuw 4 Michael Mellon
10 Michael O'Neill 7 Glen Little
18 Ian Kilford 9 Andy Cooke
9 Simon Haworth 30 John Mullin
7 Andy Liddell 10 Andy Payton
11 Stuart Barlow 8 Paul Cook
SUBS
13 Derek Stillie 12 Ronnie Jepson
15 Gareth Griffiths 14 Chris Brass
21 Brian McLaughlin 11 Lenny Johnrose
22 Darren Sheridan 15 Graham Branch
16 Roberto Martinez 29 Alan Lee
TIMELINE
9'     Yellow Card Paul Cook
17'     Goal Andy Payton
22' Player Off Kevin Sharp
Player On Darren Sheridan
 

 

41' Goal Simon Haworth    
45' Yellow Card Michael O'Neill    
61'    

Player Off Gordon Armstrong
Player On Graham Branch

68' Player Off Ian Kilford
Player On Roberto Martinez
 

 

71'     Player Off Andy Cooke
Player On Alan Lee

Wigan Athletic 2 Burnley 1

AUTO WINDSCREENS SHIELD ROUND ONE - JJB STADIUM - Tuesday 7th December 1999
 

WIGAN ATHLETIC
Bradshaw 38 (pen)
Morris 105

2-1
BURNLEY
Lee 27
Wigan win on golden goal rule

YOUNG gun Andrew Morris swapped his trainee duties for a place in the first team - and booked Latics their place in the next round of the Auto Windscreens Shield.

The 17-year-old rookie fired home a 105th minute Golden Goal winner on his first team debut after the holders had made hard work of their defence of the trophy.

"It was a Roy of the Rovers job," remarked Latics manager John Benson, and the script couldn't have been written better.

Morris had been on the pitch just 18 minutes when he picked up possession 30 yards out, strode forward to the edge of the box, and rifled a low shot past Clarets keeper Paul Crichton.

The goal brought down the curtain on a game which could have been settled much earlier had either side been wearing their shooting boots.

Burnley struck the woodwork twice, Latics hit it once, as chances went begging in both boxes.

But fortune eventually favoured young Morris, and his goal will stick long in the memory as he returns to his usual task of polishing boots and sweeping dressing rooms.

The win will have given Latics a major boost ahead of Saturday's FA Cup tie with Wolves, even though a number of the expected side weren't on duty last night.

Benson chose to make six changes from the team which started at Scunthorpe last Saturday, with Arjan de Zeeuw, Stuart Balmer, Andy Liddell, Roberto Martinez and Michael O'Neill all rested, while Scott Green was suspended.

Gareth Griffiths and Brian McLaughlin were handed rare starts, skipper Carl Bradshaw returned after three weeks out with a calf strain, new signing Jeff Peron was included, while Darren Sheridan and Ian Kilford earned recalls.

Peron proved the pick of the bunch with a confident display on both wings, while Bradshaw will have been pleased with his hour's run-out at right back.

The tinkering gave Benson the chance to play a 4-4-2 system which he would like to use on a regular basis and, as at Scunthorpe when he reverted to a flat back four, the team looked far more settled.

Latics started strongly, with Kilford shooting just wide of the target after eight minutes, while Stuart Barlow flicked a header over the top after Pat McGibbon had met Peron's corner on the volley.

At the other end, Kilford came to Roy Carroll's rescue in the 15th minute.

The keeper dropped a corner from Glen Little and in the confusion Lennie Johnrose fired in a close-range shot which Kilford headed off the line.

Simon Haworth was the width of the woodwork from putting Latics in front after 20 minutes, meeting Bradshaw's right-wing cross with a stinging volley from 12 yards which rattled the bar.

But their habit of falling behind came round again in the 27th minute - the eighth time in the last nine games it has happened.

Mitchell Thomas crossed from the left and ALAN LEE rose at the far post to plant a header past Carroll from seven yards.

Latics' reply was swift, though, and they pulled level within 11 minutes.

Peron was pushed by Graham Branch as they challenged for possession down the right-hand side of the box and Bootle referee George Cain awarded a penalty.

BRADSHAW made no mistake from the spot, hammering a low shot to Crichton's right.

They're certainly having the luck with penalties at the moment, that being Latics' eight spot-kick this season.

Payton almost restored Burnley's lead 10 minutes into the second half when his snap shot from the edge of the area struck the bar.

Carroll then kept out Lee's low shot at the far post with a smart diving save, before he was saved by the woodwork again after 70 minutes.

A bust-up between Peron and Johnrose resulted in the Clarets being awarded a free kick down the left.
Little swung the kick into the middle and Lee got up highest to head against the far post.

Barlow saw a shot from 16 yards deflected behind for a corner, while Haworth almost caught out Crichton with a 25-yard shot in the 80th minute, but the keeper managed to parry the effort before kicking the loose ball to safety.

Morris was introduced to the action to replace McLaughlin after 87 minutes, and little did he realise at that stage what an impact he would have on the game.

The game ticked into extra-time and frostbite was setting in when he had his golden moment.

Picking the ball up in midfield, MORRIS advanced towards the box and as the visitors' defence stood off expecting him to pass, he pulled back his right foot and struck a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

It sent the majority of the 2,085 crowd home happy and made him an instant hero.

He might have to wait a while for another bite of first team action, but with goals like that, young Morris could have a bright future ahead of him.

Match Report by Dave Seddon - Wigan Evening Post

Referee: George Cain (Bootle)
Attendance: 2,085
LINE UP
WIGAN ATHLETIC BURNLEY
1 Roy Carroll 1 Paul Crichton
- Carl Bradshaw 2 Dean West
3 Kevin Sharp 15 Graham Branch
4 Pat McGibbon 18 Paul Weller
15 Gareth Griffiths 5 Stephen Davis
18 Ian Kilford 3 Mitchell Thomas
22 Darren Sheridan 7 Glen Little
29 Jeff Peron 11 Lenny Johnrose
9 Simon Haworth 29 Alan Lee
11 Stuart Barlow 10 Andy Payton
21 Brian McLaughlin 30 John Mullin
SUBS
13 Derek Stillie 13 Craig Mawson
30 Scott Willis 31 Anthony Shandran
24 Paul Mitchell 19 Mark Robertson
16 Roberto Martinez 14 Chris Brass
23 Andrew Morris 16 Tom Cowan
TIMELINE
27'     Goal Alan Lee
38' Goal Carl Bradshaw (pen)    
61' Player Off Carl Bradshaw
Player On Roberto Martinez
   
74' Player Off Pat McGibbon
Player On Paul Mitchell
   
75'    

Player Off Dean West
Player On Mark Robertson

78'     Player Off Alan Lee
Player On Tom Cowan
87' Player Off Brian McLaughlin
Player On Andrew Morris
 

 

96'     Player Off Paul Weller
Player On Chris Brass
105' Goal Andrew Morris    

Wigan Athletic 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

FA CUP THIRD ROUND - JJB STADIUM - Saturday 11th December 2009
 

WIGAN ATHLETIC

0-1
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Robinson 90

Lady Luck has been a regular guest of Wigan Athletic this season, but where was she after half time on Saturday?

On an afternoon when Latics more than matched their Division One visitors, the old girl went AWOL and how costly it proved.

With her presence inside the JJB Stadium during the second half, surely Latics wouldn't have conceded the game's only goal deep into stoppage time.

Perhaps they would have been awarded one, if not two penalties, for fouls on Andy Liddell and Simon Haworth.

And certainly they would have found a way past Wolves keeper Michael Oakes who pulled off a string of fine saves after the interval.

But that's the FA Cup for you, and it's games like this which give the competition it's appeal - despite the attempts of Manchester United and the AXA wildcard nonsense to spoil it this season.

While it was a cruel way that Carl Robinson snatched victory for the Molineux side in the 92nd minute, Latics can hold their heads up high.

After a hesitant start which fortunately saw Roy Carroll in fine form, they took the game to Wolves in confident fashion.

In the second half, they carved out a number of good chances and for a good while, an upset looked on the cards.

But up popped Welsh international Robinson to deny them their chance of glory, and what was even more frustrating was that he was only playing because regular midfielder Simon Osborne was suspended!

Latics went inot the game without top scorer Stuart Barlow who took a whack on the foot from Haworth in training on Friday.

He failed a fitness test on the morning of the game, so Haworth and Liddell formed the partnership up front, as John Benson reverted at last to a balanced 4-4-2 system.

Scott Green and Jeff Peron provided the width on either wing, with Roberto Martinez and Michael O'Neill tucking inside.

Skipper Carl Bradshaw filled the right back slot after proving his fitness against Burnley, lining up with Arjan de Zeeuw, Stuart Balmer and Kevin Sharp in a flat back four.

The early play belonged to Wolves with Carroll called into action as early as the third minute.

Balmer was pulled up for a foul on Neil Emblen just outside the box, and Andy Sinton's curling free kick was turned around the post by Carroll at full stretch.

Darren Bazeley's resulting corner was cleared as far as Emblen 20 yards out, who let fly with a stinging shot which Carroll acrobatically tipped over.

Latics refused to be intimidated by their visitors' bright start, and went close themselves after eight minutes.

Peron's fine pass sent Liddell clear on the left, the striker cut inside and sent a low pass across the face of goal which Lee Naylor cleared with Haworth closing in.

Carroll was busy again in the 21st minute, pushing a low shot from Australian forward Steve Corica around the near post, while Sharp headed clear a curling centre from Sinton just after.

Corica was denied by the keeper again five minutes before half-time, Carroll diving to his right to parry the 20 yard effort.

Moments before the break, Ade Akinbiyi knocked down a cross and Corica fired just wide of the target.
Latics grew in confidence after their half time cuppa, with Haworth twice heading wide in the opening six minutes.

After 58 minutes, the Welsh striker tried his luck with a shot on the run from 25 yards which Oakes only just got his gloves to with Liddell sniffing for the rebound.

Haworth was denied again four minutes later, Liddell robbing Keith Curle of possession to set him up on the edge of the box, but his shot clipped the legs of Robinson and fell just the wrong side of the post.

The game's controversial moment arrived after 66 minutes when Carroll's huge goal kick sailed over the top of the Wolves' back line to send Liddell running clear.

His first touch as he arrived in the box was poor, but as he tried to regain his composure, former Latics trialist Ludovic Pollet stepped across his path and clearly gave Liddell a shove.

Referee Clive Wilkes waved away the appeals, but from my vantage point he was clearly wrong.

"I don't complain about referees," was Benson's after match comment about the incident.

Wolves chief Colin Lee admitted: "Sometimes you get those decisions, sometimes you don't, fortunately it went our way."

Undettered Latics were only denied the lead in the 70th minute by a great piece of goalkeeping from Oakes.

Green's cross from the right wing picked out Haworth in the box, he met it sweetly with a first time volley, but the keeper dived across to tip it around the post.

At the other end, a back pass from Sharp let in substitute Havard Flo on the right hand side of the box, but his first time shot from an acute angle was blocked by Carroll.

Latics' second shout for a penalty came in the 90th minute, although it wasn't as clear cut as Liddell's earlier claim.

Haworth and Curle tangled for a through ball, with Haworth appealing he had been held back.
"Nay" said Mr. Wilkes, and the decision proved costly minutes later.

Wolves won their 11th corner of the game with 90 seconds of the two minutes injury time played.

Paul Simpson whipped over the flag kick from the left, and ROBINSON got in front of Sharp at the near post to bullet a header into the roof of the net from seven yards despite the efforts of O'Neill on the line.

A cruel end, but let's not get too down about it.

Latics can now give their full attention to their promotion push and there's still the Auto Windscreens Shield!

Match Report by Dave Seddon - Wigan Evening Post

Referee: Clive Wilkes (Gloucester)
Attendance: 10,531
LINE UP
WIGAN ATHLETIC WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
1 Roy Carroll 27 Michael Oakes
2 Carl Bradshaw 2 Kevin Muscat
3 Kevin Sharp 3 Darren Bazeley
15 Scott Green 4 Carl Robinson
14 Stuart Balmer 5 Keith Curle
6 Arjan De Zeeuw 23 Ludovic Pollet
10 Michael O'Neill 6 Neil Emblen
7 Andy Liddell 12 Lee Naylor
9 Simon Haworth 14 Steve Corica
16 Roberto Martinez 10 Ade Akinbiyi
29 Jeff Peron 11 Andy Sinton
SUBS
13 Derek Stillie 1 Mike Stowell
4 Pat McGibbon 24 Scott Taylor
23 Andy Morris 15 Steve Sedgley
18 Ian Kilford 9 Havard Flo
22 Darren Sheridan 7 Paul Simpson
TIMELINE
42'     Yellow card Lee Naylor
73'    

Player Off Steve Corica
Player On Havard Flo

79' Yellow card Scott Green    
84'     Player Off Andy Sinton
Player On Paul Simpson
90'     Goal Carl Robinson

Burnley 0 Wigan Athletic 0

NATIONWIDE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO - TURF MOOR - Saturday 19th January 2000
 

BURNLEY

0-0
WIGAN ATHLETIC

THE world and his wife turned up to crown Ian Wright as king of Turf Moor - but Latics had other ideas.

Wright makes a habit of scoring on his debut for a new club in an eventful career which has taken him to Crystal Palace, Arsenal, West Ham, Nottingham Forest and Celtic.

However that statistic went out of the window on Saturday as John Benson's men cast themselves in the role of party poopers.

In the first half, the former England international found his way to goal blocked by the no-nonsense defending of Pat McGibbon, Stuart Balmer and Gareth Griffiths.

After the interval when Wright found more room for himself and began showing flashes of brilliance which have taken him to the very top of theBritish game, Roy Carroll stood in his way.

Three times in the second half, Carroll pulled off top drawer saves - a 70th minute point blank stop to keep out a fierce volley being the pick of the bunch.

This result can certainly be seen as a point won rather than two lost from Latics' point of view.

The majority of the 20,435 crowd turned up expecting a Wright-inspired Burnley victory, so the visitors can deservedly be pleased with their afternoon's work.

While they didn't manage to pick up their first win since January 3, the display was a huge improvement on the shabby show against Colchester seven days earlier.

The hunger and desire was back, the passing generally crisper, and the confidence seemed to return.

More importantly, the 2,500 travelling supporters got right behind the side after last week's boos and jeers, giving the players a standing ovation at the final whistle.

Indeed they could have been celebrating a win had Simon Haworth not driven a late chance wide of the far post with only Clarets keeper Paul Crichton to beat.

The Latics starting 3-4-3 line-up saw SIX changes as Benson swept a new broom through his squad.

Suspended duo Arjan de Zeeuw and Carl Bradshaw were joined on the sidelines by Alan McLoughlin, Simon Haworth, Stuart Barlow and Kevin Sharp.

Scott Green and Darren Sheridan took over the wing back berths, McGibbon and Griffiths took their places in the centre, while Jeff Peron joined new £450,000 signing Neil Roberts in a revamped forward line.

Roberts can be pleased with his debut considering he'd only had one training session with his new team prior to the game.

Some fairly robust defending from the home side saw him dumped on his backside a few times, but there's plenty of promise there.

He showed he could dish it out too, earning a booking for a challenge on Wright.

"That'll be one to tell the kids about," he smiled later as he prepared to make a quick dash to Manchester Airport to join up with the Welsh squad in London.

Roberts was involved in the action ealry doors, hitting a 20 yard shot into the chest of Crichton after three minutes.

Fellow debutant Wright's first meaningful touch at the other end came in the sixth minute when Graham Branch's pass found him in space on the left hand side of the box.

Despite Wright's presence, it was Latics who generally enjoyed the better of the first half play without carving out too many chances.

Peron, who was afforded plenty of room in a wide attacking role, fired wide in the 22nd minute, while Michael O'Neill curled a 25 yard free kick off target.

Two minutes before the break, a neat through ball from Wright played in John Mullin on goal, but a fine sliding tackle from Sheridan saw the ball whipped off the toes of the Burnley midfielder.

If Latics had shaded the first half play, then the second half belonged to Burnley.

But the visitorsstuck to their task well, determined to get something out of the game.

Wright screwed a shot wide of the far post soon after the re-start, while McGibbon got in a great covering header to prevent the striker connecting with a right wing cross.

In the 61st minute, Carroll got down bravely at Wright's feet to block a close range effort, and then pulled off two excellent saves in quick succession.

After 70 minutes, a cross from substitute Paul Smith deflected into the path of Wright 12 yards out.

He caught the ball full on the volley but Carroll was equal to it, saving at near point blank range.

Moments later Wright was put through on the left, cut inside, and fired a shot across goal towards the far corner, but the Northern Ireland keeper dived full length to push it away.

As the clock ticked away, both sides came within the narrowest margins of grabbing a winner.

In the 88th minute, Andy Liddell's pass sent substitute Haworth sprinting clear of the home defence but his low shot from the edge of the area spun agonisingly wide of the post.

Three minutes into stoppage time, Haworth's knock down landed at McLoughlin's feet, and his first time 20 yard effort whistled just over the bar.

Burnley broke upfield almost immediately, and Wright's chip from the left hand corner of the box for once evaded Carroll's gloves but fortunatley dropped over.

And there was another big scare with five minutes extra played.

Sheridan conceded a free kick wide on the Burnley right, which was played short to Smith 25 yards out.

He smacked a first time drive towards the goal, the ball struck McGibbon and ping-ponged around the box.

It eventually landed at the feet of Mitchell Thomas and his right foot shot struck the bar and bounced to safety.

If Latics can show these kind of battling qualities week in, week out, a win is just around the corner.

There won't be too many games more difficult than this, and they won't have to face Mr. Wright every week.

Match Report by Dave Seddon - Wigan Evening Post

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Attendance: 20,435
LINE UP
BURNLEY WIGAN ATHLETIC
1 Paul Crichton 1 Roy Carroll
32 Ian Cox 4 Pat McGibbon
5 Stephen Davis 5 Stuart Balmer
3 Mitchell Thomas 15 Gareth Griffiths
7 Glen Little 14 Scott Green
11 Lenny Johnrose 22 Darren Sheridan
8 Paul Cook 16 Roberto Martinez
30 John Mullin 10 Michael O'Neill
15 Graham Branch 7 Andy Liddell
33 Ian Wright 12 Neil Roberts
9 Andy Cooke 29 Jeff Peron
SUBS
2 Dean West 13 Derek Stillie
17 Paul Smith 3 Kevin Sharp
12 Ronnie Jepson 34 Alan McLoughlin
4 Michael Mellon 9 Simon Haworth
6 Gordon Armstrong 11 Stuart Barlow
TIMELINE
34'     Yellow Card Neil Roberts
38' Yellow Card Lenny Johnrose    
54'     Yellow Card Stuart Balmer
57'     Player Off Roberto Martinez
Player On Alan McLoughlin
61' Player Off Graham Branch
Player On Paul Smith
   
67' Yellow Card Mitchell Thomas    
69'     Player Off Jeff Peron
Player On Stuart Barlow
69'     Player Off Neil Roberts
Player On Simon Haworth
75' Player Off Glen Little
Player On Dean West
   
84' Player Off Andy Cooke
Player On Ronnie Jepson
   
90'     Yellow Card Darren Sheridan

Wigan Athletic 0 Preston North End 1

NATIONWIDE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO - JJB STADIUM - Tuesday 4th April 2000
 
WIGAN ATHLETIC
0-1
PRESTON NORTH END
Jackson 17

As the season nears an end this was a fixture above all overs that Wigan deserately needed to win. It was not to be as they suffered their fourth reversal of the season and in front of the largest home crowd in their brief league existence.

The game lived up to all it's expectations as a rough, hard fought , top-of-the-table, local derby. Premier League referee Uriah Rennie had to reach to his pocket six times for the yellow card and Preston North End centre half Jackson left the field with a suspected broken nose after a second half collision left him covered in blood, but I expect that was the last thing on his mind at the end of the 90 tempestuous minutes.

Heavy security surrounded the stadium to try and prevent any repeat of crowd trouble witnessed at previous big games this season. This never materialised, much to the relief of officials at both clubs, as all eyes were glued to the action on the pitch before them.

Wigan were missing a number of players for the biggest game of the season and a number of team changes were forced upon manager John Benson.

Andy Liddell, who has been at the centre of everything positive this season, was forced to sit in the stand as a spectator after limping off in the final minutes of Saturday's away win at Brentford with a thigh strain.

Stuart Barlow, Wigan's top scorer this season and a natural replacement for Liddell, underwent surgery to remove fragements of bone from his ankle earlier in the day and could be out for four to five weeks therefore finishing his season.

Scott Green finished his suspension he received after his dismissal against Chesterfield at Saltergate.

All three have been key players in their quest for promotion so far this season and were sorely missed from the starting line up as Wigan seemed to lack that little something up front.

This was no disrespect to Welsh international Neil Roberts who returned to partner Simon Haworth in a two man strike force after four weeks out with an ankle ligaments injury. However, Roberts was obviously not match fit and had not done a full days training since hobbling from the field against Blackpool early last month.

The game itself started off at a frantic pace but no real chances to speak off in the first 15 minutes. That was until referee Rennie awarded Preston a free kick 20 yards out after Darren Sheridan had been adjudged to have raised his boot in a challenge as Preston pushed forward on the attack. McKenna drove the resulting free kick into the wall, the ball deflecting off Simon Haworth and behind for a corner.

Edwards played a quick one-two with Gunnlaugsson from the corner and floated a cross to the far post. Neil Roberts attempted to clear the ball with his head but only succeeded in playing the ball back across the goalmouth and Preston centre half Michael Jackson beat Peron to the loose ball, sticking a leg out to loop a shot over Roy Carroll from 5 yards out, sending Preston's huge following wild.

Wigan pushed forward and Neil Redfearn hammered a shot towards goal only to see it blocked in the area by a Preston defender. Shortly after Terry Cooke, playing in his final game of the month's loan from Manchester City, weaved through the Preston midfield and then defence only to shoot feebily straight into arms of Preston's giant goalkeeper Moilanen.

Preston also had chances at the other end to increase their lead with former Wigan target and Preston skipper Sean Gregan heading narrowly over the bar and Roy Carroll had to pull off a fine save to deny Anderson after he had raced into the box.

Wigan had probably their best chances of the half in the dying seconds as many of the spectators had left their seats in a bid to gain advantage in the queue for the bar and that much needed half-time pint.

Griffiths glanced a header over the bar from a Sheridan inswinging corner and then Finnish goalkeeper Moilanen earned his wages by twice denying Wigan in less than a minute with fine saves.

First he managed to get down low and push a Simon Haworth shot round the post after Cooke had put the Welshman clear with a reaonably clear view of the goal. Then, from the resulting Sheridan corner, de Zeeuw stole in between the defence and powered a header with seemed destined to squeeze in under the bar until Moilanen stetched to tip the ball over the bar.

Skipper Carl Bradshaw was introduced to the action after the interval, replacing new father Gareth Griffiths, and Wigan reverted to a 4-4-2 formation, Bradshaw slotting in behind Peron at left back, allowing Peron to push forward more down the flank. This proved a success as Wigan won the lion's share of the action down that left wing but Peron's final touches didn't quite provide the results that Latics so desperately needed.

Redfearn was again in the thick of things seeing a shot fly wide of the mark before thundering a shot from just outside the area charged down by the formiddable Sean Gregan.

Another Sheridan corner provided Latics and Terry Cooke with a chance to level after the cross floated over the melee in the middle of the box and found Cooke free beyond the far post only for his header to fly narrowly over the bar and onto the roof of the net.

The action then moved to the opposite end of the field with Gunnlaugsson crossing the ball to find Macken free in the middle but Carroll was again on hand to deny the former Manchester United striker with a fine save.

Peron came close to salvaging a point from the game in the final minutes. Firstly, he lobbed a shot just over the bar after a Bradshaw free kick was headed down and found the Frenchman in space in the area.

He then had two shots blocked by Ryan Kidd in the area after Peron was brought down on the edge of the box. Bradshaw chipped the free kick into the middle and Peron drove the ball goalbound but Kidd managed to block only for the ball to return to the feet of Peron who quickly fired another shot at goal but Kidd this time stopped the shot with his stomach, despite the appeals of hand-ball from the Wigan faithful, and the danger was quickly cleared.

Sean Gregan left the field in the final ten minutes with a back injury and his absence, if he doesn't recover, would be a major blow to Preston in their quest for the championship and promotion to the first division for the first time in nearly twenty years.

It became obvious the further the game progressed that Andy Liddell was sorely missed and Scott Green's dominance at the back added to his attacking runs would have made an impact on this hard fought derby.

The blow of this defeat was softened for Wigan fans after hearing that Bristol Rovers had suffered a surprise home defeat at the hands of Reading but Preston must now be seen as clear favourites for the title with just a month of the season left to play and Preston now moving seven points clear albeit with Latics having a game in hand on the Lillywhites.

Next up it's Oxford United at the JJB Stadium this coming Saturday closely following by a trip up the M60 to Oldham and hopefully revenge for the home defeat suffered at the hands of the Boundary Park side in front of the Sky TV cameras in early January.

Referee: Uriah Rennie (Sheffield)
Attendance: 15,593
LINE UP
WIGAN ATHLETIC PRESTON NORTH END
1 Roy Carroll 21 Tepi Moilanen
5 Stuart Balmer 2 Graham Alexander Yellow Card
6 Arjan De Zeeuw 5 Michael Jackson
16 Gareth Griffiths 4 Ryan Kidd Yellow Card
33 Michael Clegg 15 Rob Edwards
22 Darren Sheridan 33 Iain Anderson
32 Neil Redfearn Yellow Card 6 Sean Gregan
29 Jeff Peron Yellow Card 8 Mark Rankin
31 Terry Cooke 16 Paul McKenna
9 Simon Haworth 19 Bjark Gunnlaugson
12 Neil Roberts Yellow Card 17 Jon Macken Yellow Card
SUBS
13 Derek Stillie 1 David Lucas
2 Carl Bradshaw 7 Lee Cartwright
3 Kevin Sharp 11 David Eyres
4 Pat McGibbon 10 Steve Basham
18 Ian Kilford 32 Brett Angell
TIMELINE
17'     Goal Michael Jackson
46' Player Off Gareth Griffiths
Player On Carl Bradshaw
   
75'     Player Off Iain Anderson
Player On Lee Cartwright
75'     Player Off Bjark Gunnlaugsson
Player On David Eyres
84'     Player Off Sean Gregan
Player On Steve Basham

Wigan Athletic 1 Preston North End 1

NATIONWIDE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE - JJB STADIUM - Saturday 16th August 2003
 
WIGAN ATHLETIC
McCulloch 89
1-1
PRESTON NORTH END
Fuller 87

Paul Jewell would have been rightly disappointed had Ricardo Fuller's 87th minute opener for Preston earned them all three points in the very first Division One game to be played at the JJB Stadium.

The game had been heading towards a goalless stalemate when the Jamaican striker headed past John Filan with less than 3 minutes of normal time remaining but a never say die attitude was evident and within 2 minutes Latics were level thanks to Lee McCulloch's second goal of the week.

Jewell opted for virtually the same line up that had started against Hull City n the Carling Cup with only the return of John Filan in goal the only alteration.

However, there was one major surprise in the Wigan manager's team sheet. The much talked about 18 year old Brazilian Magno Silva Vieira took his place amongst the substitutes after he had been granted a Portuguese passport in midweek.

The talented player arrived in Wigan 2 years ago at the recommendation of Brazilian legend Jairzhaino and had been putting in some very impressive performances for David Lee's youth side including 2 goals in the season's opener at Carlisle last weekend.

The visitors always looked threatening up front but Wigan more than matched them in this pulsating game and the first chance of the afternoon fell to Paul Jewell's side with two minutes on the clock, Lee McCulloch firing straight at Preston keeper Jonathan Gould, signed at the start of the year from Celtic.

Minutes later Andy Liddell wasted a golden opportunity when he headed over the bar from two yards out after Preston had failed to clear a Peter Kennedy corner.

Wigan continued to push forward in search of their first ever goal in Division One and were almost rewarded through the impressive Jimmy Bullard who sent a low shot narrowily wide of the mark from the edge of the penalty area in the 19th minute.

They were very nearly a goal down 3 minutes later when Ricardo Fuller rattled his effort against the far post after waltzing past the Wigan defence and fortunately the rebound was quickly cleared.

Back up the other end of the field Jason Jarrett set up McCulloch, picking him out in the area but the Scot's header flew way over the bar.

Filan needed to be at his best on the half hour mark when USA international Eddie Lewis sent a rocket of a shot goalward bound but the Wigan keeper did well to get down to block and collect at the second attempt.

Jason Jarrett sent his effort over the bar 5 minutes after the break after Neil Roberts had helped on a Nicky Eaden free kick and Ricardo Fuller sent a shot directly at Filan at the other end.

The action quickly returned to the Preston goalmouth with Neil Roberts having his header from a Jimmy Bullard corner was cleared off the line.

McCulloch went close again after Neil Roberts set him free, the Welshman doing well to win the ball midway into the Preston half, but his strike partner only managed to put the ball wide from 18 yards out with 20 minutes remaining.

Matt Jackson came to Wigan's rescue moments later when Filan failed to hold onto a close range Richard Creswell shot but luckily Jackson was on hand to clear the ball to safety.

Gary Teale was introduced to the action after 72 minutes with Neil Roberts making way for him. This enabled Andy Liddell to push further forward as Teale replaced him on the right wing.

The substitution proved to be inspired with Teale's pace down the wing making Wigan more threatening going forward and it was the former Ayr United man that provided the cross for McCulloch in the 83rd minute but the Wigan number 10's header hardly troubled Gould in the Preston goal.

However it was Preston who took the lead and looked to have hit Wigan with the sucker punch. Graham Alexander picked out RICARDO FULLER in space with his corner kick and the former Crystal Palace striker sent home a thunderbolt of a header, leaving Filan with no chance.

Many a team would have been resigned to defeat but Wigan had other ideas and their response was quick and clinical. Gary Teale was again the provider for LEE McCULLOCH but this time his header rocketed home much to the delight of the home faithful.

Latics had a couple of decent chances to snatch all three points as the game entered stoppage time but at the end of the day anything other than a draw would have been cruel to either side.

Referee: Mike Fletcher (Warley)
Attendance: 12,073
LINE UP
WIGAN ATHLETIC PRESTON NORTH END
1 John Filan 40 Jonathan Gould
3 Steve McMillan 2 Graham Alexander
4 Matt Jackson 3 Brian O'Neil
6 Ian Breckin 5 Michael Jackson
19 Nicky Eaden 20 Chris Lucketti
18 Jason Jarrett 19 Michael Keane
21 Jimmy Bullard 17 Eddie Lewis
11 Peter Kennedy 4 Dickson Etuhu
7 Andy Liddell 25 Richard Creswell
8 Neil Roberts 9 Richard Fuller
10 Lee McCulloch 15 Rob Edwards
SUBS
13 Gary Walsh 1 David Lucas
2 Paul Mitchell 18 Pawel Abbott
22 Magno Silva Vieira 22 Claude Davis
16 Tony Dinning 11 David Healy
20 Gary Teale 7 Lee Cartwright
TIMELINE
37'     Yellow Card Michael Jackson
41'     Yellow Card Richard Cresswell
43'     Yellow Card Brian O'Neil
73' Player Off Neil Roberts
Player On Gary Teale
   
75' Yellow Card Lee McCulloch    
78'     Yellow Card Graham Alexander
82'     Player Off Eddie Lewis
Player On David Healy
87'     Goal Ricardo Fuller
89' Player Off Peter Kennedy
Player On Paul Mitchell
   
89'     Player Off Dickson Etuhu
Player On Lee Cartwright
89' Goal Lee McCulloch    

Page 21 of 30

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