HomeMatch Reports2003-2004 - Wigan Athletic 1 Middlesbrough 2

Carling Cup Third Round - Wednesday 29th October 2003

Wigan Athletic
Jimmy Bullard 75
Wigan Athletic
Massimo Maccarone 36
Gaizka Mendieta 66
Kick-off: 19:45
Venue: JJB Stadium
Referee: Uriah Rennie (Sheffield)
Attendance: 8,046

Report by: John Patrick Heeley

Wigan went out of the Carling Cup at the hands of Premiership side Middlesbrough but gave a valiant display against a side littered with international stars in doing so.

Paul Jewell was forced into making a number of changes to his side. Gary Walsh came in for John Filan with the Australian keeper taking his place on the bench as Walsh made only his second start since signing for Wigan over the summer.

Geoff Horsfield missed out altogether, rested so that he could recover from the bout of flu that he dogged him over the weekend and Nathan Ellington was only named amongst the substitute's after struggling with a knee injury.

Steve McMillan was also left out of the squad with a groin strain and Tony Dinning's name was another missing from the team sheet, leaving Jewell with a make shift starting line up albeit an experienced one.

Replacing Horsfield and Ellington in the forward line were Neil Roberts and Lee McCulloch, Jason Jarrett replaced Tony Dinning and young Leighton Baines took is place at left back due to McMillan's absence.

Middlesbrough proved their intent of winning the game by naming a host of internationals amonst their starting eleven with former Valencia midfielder Gaizka Mendieta lining up alongside such names as Italian international Massimo Maccarone, Brazilian World Cup winner Juninho, England defenders Gareth Southgate and Danny Mills, Australian international keeper Mark Schwarzer, not to mention Dutch international midfielder Boudewijn Zenden and Slovakian international striker Szilard Nemeth who started the game on the bench.

The first chance on goal fell Wigan's way when Leighton Baines' centre found the head of Lee McCulloch but his effort was easily dealt with by Schwarzer.

Neil Roberts then set Andy Liddell off on a run which took him past French defender Franck Quedrue before delivering a teasing cross into the box but the Australian keeper was on hand again to snub out the danger.

Mendieta took the ball forward after 15 minutes, the Spaniard crossing for Juninho but the little Brazilian's header flew well wide of the mark.

Juninho used a bit of samba wizadry to get a shot in on goal 8 minutes later but his final touch on the ball was a bit of an anti-climax.

Neil Roberts went close with a header just before the half hour mark after Liddell had supplied the ball from midfield but minutes later Latics found themselves a goal down.

Under pressure on the half way line Jimmy Bullard lost the ball allowing Danny Mills to pick it up and race upfield unchallenged. The on loan Leeds man then shrugged off the challenge of Leighton Baines just outside the area before stepping inside to drill a low shot on goal.

Former Middlesbrough keeper Walsh seemed to have it covered but the slightest of touches from MASSIMO MACCARONE, one of two players played onside by Peter Kennedy, changed the ball's direction and with the Wigan keeper commited he had no chance of preventing the ball hitting the back of the net.

Liddell had a saw a decent effort comfortably saved 4 minutes later as Wigan pushed for an equalizer and 2 minutes before the break Kennedy combined with Neil Roberts to deliver a ball into the box but Mills was on hand to block.

The loose ball was picked up by Lee McCulloch and the Scot moved forward with a decent sight of goal but his shot was blocked by Schwarzer and Latics' best chance of the first half went begging as Middlesbrough cleared the danger.

Andy Liddell made way for Gary Teale during the interval as Jewell looked for another option and soon after the restart Wigan went agonisingly close to levelling matters when Roberts chested down for McCulloch to hit a terrific shot on goal but his effort scraped the top of the bar and went behind for a goal kick.

Former Bolton striker Michael Ricketts then fluffed a chance to increase his side's lead when he failed to connect with a decent ball from Maccarone in front of goal.

Breckin's header from a Teale centre was cleared just before the hour mark but only as far as Jarrett but his header flew wide and minutes later Jewell made his second change of the game with Nathan Ellington introduced in favour of Lee McCulloch, however Middlesbrough doubled the deficit soon after.

With Wigan pushing forward in numbers Baines attempted to pump a ball upfield but Juninho charged down and raced after it. Gary Walsh had little option but to raced 30 yards off his line in an attempt to beat the Brazilian to the loose ball.

All hell broke loose however when the Middlesbrough midfielder took the ball around Walsh and continued his run on goal but this time with an empty net in front of him.

Eaden sprinted to the goal and with other defenders taking Juninho to the byeline he pulled the ball back for an unmarked GAIZKA MENDIETA who drilled home from 10 yards out despite Walsh managing to get back on his line.

All seemed lost for Wigan but they were given fresh hope when they were awarded a free kick 20 yards out. Dutch midfielder George Boateng complained about the Uriah Rennie's decision, he was booked for his troubles, and the Sheffield official promptly moved the ball forward to the edge of the penalty area.

Wigan skipper Matt Jackson furiously signalled for Ellington to join the wall as the free kick was waiting to be taken, a move that proved inspirational as JIMMY BULLARD stepped up to crack the ball against the Schwarzer's left hand post before landing in the opposite side of goal.

Middlesbrough were defending in numbers for the remainder of the game and Wigan found it increasingly difficult to create any further chances.

The final few minutes even saw the visitors taking the shortest of corners and holding onto the ball in a bid to see the clock out, such was their intent to hold onto their single goal lead and their delight was evident when Rennie called an end to proceedings. A sign of respect for their Division One opponents perhaps? 

  • Middlesbrough
  • Mark Schwarzer
  • Franck Queudrue
  • Chris Riggott
  • Gareth Southgate
  • Danny Mills
  • George Boateng
  • Gaizka Mendieta 72
  • Juninho
  • Jonathan Greening
  • Massimo Maccarone 87
  • Michael Ricketts 57
  • Carlo Nash
  • Doriva 57
  • Boudewijn Zenden 72
  • Szilard Nemeth 87
  • Andrew Davies
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