Wigan will have felt that they should have had more from this game after taking the lead through Franco Di Santo only to end up on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline and to add insult to injury Hugo Rodallega was stretchered from the field and looks set for a long spell on the sidelines.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – Goodison Park – Saturday September 17th 2011
EVERTON Jagielka 33 Vellios 84 Drenthe 90
WIGAN ATHLETIC Di Santo 31
Hugo Rodallega looks set for a lengthy lay off after the Latics frontman suffered knee ligament damage in the closing minutes of the game.
The Columbian international will have a scan to discover the extent of the injury but all signs points to mediate ligament damage which could see him out of action for up to three months.
Rodallega had started the game alongside Franco Di Santo, spearheading Wigan’s frontline and it was the young Argentinian that gave them the lead just after the half hour mark with another stunning strike albeit seemingly taking a slight deflection off Everton defender Tony Hibbert.
The travelling Wigan fans weren’t celebrating for very long however as Phil Jagielka was in the right place at the right time less than two minutes later as he headed home the rebound after Tim Cahill’s effort had come crashing off the crossbar.
The game had been sparked into life as prior to the two goals as bother keepers had hardly been troubled apart from Al Habsi in the Wigan goal who had been forced into a decent save from Seamus Coleman inside five minutes.
The young Irishman also went close in the opening moments of the second half with his attempt on goal this time a sailing narrowly past Al Habsi’s post.
Latics stood firm as their hosts piled on the pressure and as the second half wore on Martinez’s side began to stamp their authority on the game and looked most likely to grab the next goal of the game.
However it was the home side that seized the initiative through substitute Apostolos Vellios who showed just why David Moyes signed him during the January transfer window.
The 19-year-old Greek U-21 international collected the ball at the edge of the Wigan area before sending it out wide the Hibbert who in turn whipped in a pin point cross for Vellios to head past a helpless Al Habsi to send the Everton fans wild.
Wigan pushed for an equaliser and went close almost immediately only for David Jones to see his attempt take a slight deflection to send it over Tim Howard and onto the bar before being cleared to safety.
Another unsuccessful foray saw Rodallega crumpled in a heap 20 yards out and after attention from the physio and medics the Columbian was stretchered from the field to be replaced by new boy Shaun Maloney for his first league appearance in a Wigan shirt.
Latics continued to press for a leveller as the game entered six minutes of time added on but were finished off as the clock ticked down when Everton added a third through another substitute Royston Drenthe.
Wigan had pushed virtually everything forward and a long clearance up the park ultimately saw Drenthe going one on one with Al Habsi and he didn’t waste his chance to fire home his first goal for Everton since arriving on loan from Real Madrid at the end of the trasfer window.
The scoreline flattered Everton slightly and Wigan will be left wondering how they managed to lose this game and the loss of Rodallega will not have helped matters in the least.
After three straight defeats Roberto Martinez will need to be at his best to rally his troops ready for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur next weekend.