After Andy Johnson’s 100th league goal sank Latics midweek, Emile Heskey’s own century sealed the 3 points for Wigan today. The linesman made a massive blunder giving Antonio Valencia’s very good goal offside, but Latics went home with the points.
Wigan opened brightest and dominated the early exchanges. Zaki looked busy and Koumas is showing why he should have started more games.
Valencia, Heskey and Zaki all threatened in the opening 10 minutes forcing the Portsmouth defence into last ditch tackles and pulling a fine save from James.
At the other end Crouch headed against the bar and Defoe couldn’t keep his reverse kick down as Latics escaped unscathed after Pompey’s first real chance on goal.
On 32 minutes James saved well off a Valencia strike, Palacios placed his header just over the bar from the resulting corner. The last 15 minutes saw some end to end stuff, that although entertaining was also very nervy at times.
Defoe had a chance close to half time and was superbly tackled by Emmerson Boyce just as he was about to pull the trigger. From the corner Palacios was called upon at the near post to clear off the line as Diop headed at goal.
James spilled an innocuous Heskey cross after great work from Palacios and Koumas, but luckily for the England number one, Zaki couldn’t capitalise as the ball agonisingly passed behind him.
With the half was coming to a close, Koumas lobbed a cross in that fell to the feet of Bramble, but as he tried to play the ball, he was felled by Bouba Diop, who gave away his second penalty in four days. Amr Zaki confidently scored from thr spot, blasting the ball straight down the middle of the diving James’ goal.
The second half went on like the first with both teams going all out for the win and to be fair Portsmouth had the better of the first 30 minutes. Defoe and Crouch were both getting themselves into good goal scoring situations, but just couldn’t capitalise.
Crouch and Johnson both hit the crossbar as the home side increased the pressure. But the Latics defence were holding strong. Even with a free kick just 12 yards out the Latics rear guard held true, after Kirkland was penalised for handling a pass back.
Valencia should have had the game sealed up as he chipped home a goal from a perfect through ball from Koumas, but the assistant referee had other ideas as he flagged the Ecuadorian off side.
Heskey had another couple of chances before Portsmouth did actually score and give Latics that sinking feeling. Kranjcar slipped the ball past Kirkland with just eight minutes to go and spurred the Pompey on.
Instead it gave Latics more intent and purpose as Valencia and Palacios went on a mission to get the lead back. Valencia missed a golden opportunity before Cattermole fed a perfect ball through to the very impressive Heskey who spanked the ball past a flailing James.
Latics got the rub of the green today for the first time this season and were well worth their 3 points…. roll on Stoke.
Report by Jason Taylor