Wigan were left kicking themselves after two early goals settled this friendly game in favour of their Romanian opponents.
Latics fell behind after 12 minutes when Arman Karamyan sent a daisy cutter past Kirkland from 20 yards out – the Armenian international stepping into acres of space following good hold up play down the right from Costa Rican forward Winston Parks.
Timisoara soon doubled their lead with Gigel Bucur, joint top scorer with 17 goals in last season’s Romanian Liga 1, tapping in after Alexandru Curtean had sliced the ball across goal following Eder Bonfim’s cross/shot which had rattled the bar, landing invitingly at the 22-year-old midfielder’s feet.
Wigan pushed for a way back into the game, forcing three quick corners midway thorugh the half but each failed to trouble Costel Pantilimon, the 6′ 6″ Romanian international keeper who was once reported to be a target for Manchester United.
Parks missed a golden opportunity on 27 minutes with Kirkland denying him after Curtean had played him on goal with a long ball forward.
Both Jordi Gomez and Daniel de Ridder had chances for Wigan as the first half came to a close but it remained 2-0 as female referee Tanja Schett blew up for half time.
Martinez again opted for sweeping changes during the interval with only Chris Kirkland, Erik Edman and Emmerson Boyce returning to the field for the second half.
Tomasz Kupisz went agonisingly close moments after the restart his shot shaving the upright from 12 yards.
Shortly after and it was Rachid Bouaouzan’s turn to have a crack on goal but the lively midfielder sent his shot over the bar.
Moments later and the action moved up the other end of the field with Artiom Karamyan, twin brother of the opening goalscorer, also firing over from outside the area.
Eder Bonfim went close to adding a third for the Romanians on 70 minutes but his shot from just outside of the box rose just over Kirkland’s bar.
Wigan youngster Joe Holt, a late replacement for N’Zogbia, almost pulled one back late on after an error from keeper Pantilimion but the 19-year-old Liverpudlian failed to hit the back of the net – his effort cleared off the line for and so it ended with Wigan still looking for first win under the new Martinez regime.
Martinez remained philosophical about the result commenting to the official website: “What interests me is how the players performed on the day and this was another fantastic training exercise against a team who were fitter than us and gave us a real challenge.”
He continued: “I think we took another big step forward. Austria is about assessing the squad, looking at every player individually and trying them in different positions if we need to, like we did with Maynor at centre half and Emmerson at right back. I also tried Won Hee Cho at right back the other day too, to try and assess my options.
“They played their first eleven, and begin their Champions League games next week so for them they are virtually at match fitness level.”
He added: “I was pleased with a lot aspects of our game, and although I was disappointed with the way we conceded the goals, they came from basic defensive errors, and we can work on preventing those sort of mistakes from happening again.”
Click Here To View Goals (from YouTube)