HomeMatch Reports2002-2003 - Wigan Athletic 2 Brentford 0

Nationwide League Division Two - Saturday 12th April 2003

Wigan Athletic
Nathan Ellington 57
Lee McCulloch 90
Wigan Athletic
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: JJB Stadium
Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)
Attendance: 7,204

Report by: John Patrick Heeley

Wigan Athletic now stand on the threshold of the First Division and only a 69th minute goal for Crewe at Blackpool prevented them stepping over it but Paul Jewell insists that he doesn't care what happens elsewhere just as long as his side do what he expects them to do.

Latics have now amassed 92 points with only Crewe and Cardiff in second and third spot respectively capable of stopping them achieving promotion to Division One for the first time in their history.

Jewell selected the same starting line up that had began the previous game at Northampton 8 days previously with the only changes to his squad coming on the bench.

John Filan had successfully shaken off a shoulder injury sustained at Sixfields but his young understudy Ryan Yeomans fractured a wrist in training on Monday, ruling him out for the remainder of the season and leaving no goalkeeping cover amongst the substitutes.

The gap on the bench was taken up by Lee McCulloch who had recovered from a hamstring injury but there was still no place for Tony Dinning who is still struggling with the calf strain that has kept him out of the side for the last two outings.

Wigan made hard work of the first half allowing Brentford some space but the visitors who had only picked up one win on their travels since the end of October failed to make the most of the opportunities they presented themselves with.

With only two minutes on the clock Stephen Hunt sent a shot way over Filan's crossbar as the Bees tried to get off to a flying start.

Minutes later the former Crystal Palace trainee lost the ball to Nathan Ellington who fired in a fierce shot but Paul Smith in the Brentford goal was equal to it.

Brentford could have done better after 8 minutes when defender Michael Dobson sent Hunt forward down the wing with a long ball.

Hunt then picked out Mickael Antoine-Curier, on loan from Nottingham Forest, but the 20 year old completely fluffed the ball.

Wigan then broke upfield with Neil Roberts sending Gary Teale clear with a defence splitting ball but with only the goalkeeper to beat the Scot sent his effort wide of the far post.

Liddell saw a half chance hit the side netting midway through the half and Roberts fired over the bar after Filan had been tested by the lively Hunt.

Bees keeper Smith needed to be at his best just before the break when he a thunderous shot from Nathan Ellington over the bar.

The second half saw Wigan take control, limiting their opponents to a handful of half chances, and two goals, one in stoppage time, settled the tie comfortably for Paul Jewell's men.

Latics took the lead 11 minutes after the restart when Andy Liddell collected the ball from a poor clearance, his cross into the danger zone finding NATHAN ELLINGTON who drove the ball home from the edge of the box for his 15th league goal of the campaign, his 22nd in all competitions.

Teale went close to increasing his side's lead with just over quarter of an hour remaining when he intercepted a poor back pass from Matt Somner, the former Ayr United winger charged forward but couldn't quite capitalise on the mistake by the Brentford defence, Smith managing to deny him with his legs.

Moments later Brentford came close to an equaliser following decent work between Hunt and Stephen Evans but the Welsh midfielder drove his effort into the side netting.

New began to filter through that Kenny Lunt had given Crewe the lead at Bloomfield Road meaning that, as things stood, Wigan would have to wait a while longer to celebrate promotion.

However the score by the seaside mattered little just as long as Wigan could maintain their lead again Wally Downes' side and pick up all three points.

That was confirmed in stoppage time when LEE MCCULLOCH, a replacement for Andy Liddell only minutes earlier, put the ball into the back of the net from just inside the area after Ellington had set him up.

All eyes will be glued to the Teletext on Sunday afternoon as Cardiff City take on Chesterfield at Saltergate, knowing that anything less than a victory for the South Wales side will mean Wigan are promoted.

Both Crewe and Cardiff play their games in hand in midweek with Crewe facing a very tricky game at home to in form Bristol City on Tuesday and Cardiff taking on Peterborough at London Road the following evening.

Wigan can therefore theoretically travel to relegation haunted Huddersfield next weekend already confirmed as promoted or even champions.

Nonetheless victory at the McAlpine Stadium would ensure that Paul Jewell's men will be facing the likes of Sunderland next season in Division One.

  • Brentford
  • Paul Smith
  • Michael Dobson
  • Ibrahima Sonko
  • Leo Roget
  • Matt Somner
  • Martin Rowlands 14
  • Jamie Fullarton
  • Stephen Evans
  • Stephen Hunt
  • Mickael Antoine-Curier
  • Kevin O'Connor
  • Alan Julian
  • Lee Fieldwick
  • Andrew Frampton
  • Leo Constantine 82
  • Rowan Vine 8214
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