HomeMatch Reports1999-2000 - Wigan Athletic 3 Afc Bournemouth 1

Nationwide League Division Two - Wednesday 17th November 1999

Wigan Athletic
Scott Green 23
Arjan de Zeeuw 63
Stuart Barlow 87
Wigan Athletic
AFC Bournemouth
AFC Bournemouth
Steve Fletcher 59
Venue: JJB Stadium
Referee: Phil Joslin (Newark)
Attendance: 4,338

Report by: David Seddon (Wigan Evening Post)

RED-HOT Stuart Barlow has revealed the secret of Wigan's success...it's the fear factor.

Barlow hit his 19th goal of the season to go one clear of Alan Shearer as the nation's leading scorer as the Latics took a firm grip on top spot in Division Two.

His super strike helped open up a four-point lead over neighbours Preston North End, and Barlow admitted: "The fact that there's a lot of quality sat on the bench means the players in the team have got to play well.

"You know that if you don't do the business you'll be out of the side."

Barlow's goal three minutes from time was the icing on the cake.

And Latics fans were also treated to two real collector's items - goals from defenders Scott Green and Arjan de Zeeuw.

The performance also earned them a much-deserved standing ovation as they left the pitch.

But they did survive some hairy moments before the points were in the bag.

Bournemouth's luck was out before kick-off when keeper Mark Ovendale injured his back in the warm-up - giving 19-year-old Gareth Stewart from Clayton-le-Woods, near Chorley, his first team debut.

Latics started like a house on fire with Michael O'Neill and Roberto Martinez really buzzing in midfield.

Andy Liddell set the mood, forcing youngster Stewart into early action, and Latics went agonisingly close after 15 minutes.

Barlow and Martinez worked a terrific one-two, the Spaniard picked his spot but the shot came back off the keeper's left post.

Bournemouth's game-plan - to earn a point - came unstuck after 23 minutes.

Carl Bradshaw replacing the axed Kevin Sharp, supplied the precision cross to the far post and GREEN sneaked in on the blindside to steer in the header.

Not surprisingly, he was one happy chappie. It was his first goal in 86 games and only his second for Wigan Athletic (two years and two months after the first.)
Stuart Balmer, fresh from hitting the target on Friday, was just a whisker away from rattling in number two.

But in the last 15 minutes of the half, Bournemouth really should have equalised.

The dangerous Mark Stein fired inches wide after turning Balmer, Steve Robinson fired over the top, and Steve Fletcher just missed with a scissors-kick.

The linesman's flag denied Latics early in the second period, Andy Liddell the victim of a dodgy offide decision after hitting the net.

With the hailstones beating down, Latics were then hit by a thunderbolt - giving away yet another soft goal.

Targetman STEVE FLETCHER was given a free header from Warren's corner and Bradshaw, on the line, just failed to keep it out.

Suddenly, the script was going all wrong...until an unlikely hero emerged.

Dutchman DE ZEEUW has been on the receiving end in the Latics' dressing room about the chances he's missed so far.

But he silenced the jokers, and ended his goal drought, with a superbly worked free-kick. Skipper Bradshaw won it on the edge of the area wide to the left when Neil Young climbed all over him.

He also took it, measuring it perfectly behind the wall, and the flying Dutchman ghosted in to head past the helpless Stewart from close range.

Action man Liddell almost got the goal he deserved with a fierce right-footer that whistled just wide.

But Latics were fortunate to survive after a rare mix-up between Balmer and Pat McGibbon gifted Stein a shooting chance.

Fortunately, it fell for his less favoured left foot and Derek Stillie was not even troubled.

Then with time ticking away, that man BARLOW wrapped up the points in style.

Martinez fed it through and Barlow did the business.

Thirty yards out, he took one glance at goal and let fly with his trusty right boot - the shot flying into the top corner.

It was a strike right out of the top drawer, one VIP guest Kenny Dalglish would surely have been proud of.

What's more, it should at least guarantee Barlow a place in Saturday's line-up!

  • AFC Bournemouth
  • Gareth Stewart
  • Neil Young 87
  • Christer Warren
  • Ian Cox
  • Karl Broadhurst
  • Jamie Day
  • Steve Robinson
  • Carl Fletcher
  • Claus Jorgenson 74
  • Mark Stein
  • Steve Fletcher
  • Scott Mean
  • James Hayter 87
  • John O'Neill
  • Mark Rawlinson
  • Willie Huck 74
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