Wigan Athletic carried on where they left off at West Ham, but even though they were for the most part the better team a screamer from the big girl Scott Parker sealed the points for the hosts. Over a 1,000 Latics fans travelled down to see the spectacle that saw us just miss out on all three points.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – Upton Park- Saturday April 24th 2010
Ilan (31)
Radoslav Kovac (45)
Scott Parker (77)
Jonathan Spector (4)
Hugo Rodallega (52)

A match with potentially massive consequences for Hull and Burnley saw both teams go all out for the three points. A West Ham win and Hull loss would see the Tigers all but relegated. For Wigan, it was a chance to build on last week’s fantastic comeback and win against Arsenal.

A sun drenched Boleyn Ground played host to two teams in search of a win to drag themselves clear of the relegation zone. West Ham knew that a win would near enough see them safe and Wigan knew that a win for them would pull themselves clear and leave West Ham in a whole world of trouble..

It was Wigan who was quicker out of the blocks, signalling their intent from the start Wigan took the game to West Ham and as a result of pressure Wigan won the first corner of the game. Ben Watson took the duty for Wigan’s set pieces and delivered a tantalising ball into the six yard area. All what was needed was a touch and this came courtesy of American Jonathan Spector who fired home past his own keeper Rob Green to give the Latics a lead within the first four minutes. Just the start that Wigan wanted and the pressure was definitely on West Ham.

With West Ham needing to get back in to the game quickly the pressure was on England striker Carlton Cole to provide some goals. Cole went close on 8 minutes as he beat the offside trap to advance on the Wigan goal and after taking on Kirkland could only find Caldwell who had got back well to cover the line and preserve Wigan’s one nil lead. Kirkland’s heroics left him needing some treatment after receiving a gash to the head. Luckily Kirkland was able to receive treatment on the pitch and see out the remainder of the game.

James McCarthy was the first player of the afternoon to make his way in to Mr Wiley’s book with what was seemingly a needless yellow card. As a result of the booking came some pressure on the Wigan goal and a test for the Latics defence. Once again the back line provided the answers to all the questions asked.

All afternoon Ben Watson proved a thorn in West Hams side. He was providing tantalising crosses all afternoon and it seems that the first team experience he has had at Championship level this season has given him the confidence to excel himself in the Premier League.

On 30 minutes came a great chance for James McCarthy to make it two nil. A thunderous 30 yard effort from McCarthy looked destined for the top corner of Rob Green’s goal but a world class save from the England shop stopper kept the game level.

Carlton Cole then proved why he should be on the plane to South Africa. After scything through the Wigan defence he was able to pull a ball across the face of goal for Ilan to pass the ball into the Wigan net. After all the pressure Wigan had heaped on the West Ham goal this was definitely not what Wigan deserved. This would give West Ham the confidence they needed to build and fight off the relegation threat.

On 37 minutes Wigan were forced into a change. Marcelo Moreno was replaced by young Latics star Victor Moses and Moses was to cause problems all afternoon for the West Ham rear guard.

In the 5th minute of added time in the first half West Ham struck the Hammer Blow. Mark Noble with the free kick just outside the Wigan area, decided to shoot which in turn called Kirkland into action with a one handed save. Noble’s effort looked destined for the top corner but Kirkland managed to prevent the ball crossing the line. However the parry fell to Radoslav Kovac who headed home past the Wigan defence and the Hammers took an undeserved two one lead into the interval.

At the start of the second half Ben Watson turned provider once again. Hugo Rodallega bundled the ball over the line to pull the Latics level on 52 minutes. Just the start that Wigan needed after the break and gave Wigan belief that they could yet again come back and go on to win. After the goal a chant of “Are you Arsenal in disguise” rang out from the Latics faithful.

On 77 minutes came a wonder strike from Scott Parker. From all of 40 yards out Parker hit a superb shot that fizzed past an outstretched Kirkland to give West Ham the lead once again. A lead which they would not give up unlike their London rivals a week ago at the DW Stadium.

As both teams entered the final stages it was Wigan looking the more than likely to score. Watson had a free kick saved by Green whilst Titus Bramble saw an effort from inside his own half just go over the cross bar. Had the shot been on target, Green would not have made the save needed.

Charles N’Zogbia had a great afternoon after his off the field tribulations. The Latics ace was a constant threat for the West Ham defence although his afternoon was cut short due to an injury.

It was a fantastic performance by Wigan that warranted so much more than was given. The Latics can take heart from it and can now rest easy knowing that unless Burnley beat Liverpool and win the rest of their games handsomely, they are safe. To be sure though Latics must go all out to get the three points off Hull next Bank Holiday Monday and look forward to a final game at Stamford Bridge where we could see the Premier League Trophy lifted, or even cause an upset that could see United win it.

It should also be mentioned that the support for the Latics was fantastic over the afternoon. Constant singing and the never say die attitude from the Latics fans was pleasing for everyone to see.

Report by Simon Gregory

Cockney Latic Man of the Match: Ben Watson
Referee: Alan Wiley
Attendance: 33,057
1 Robert Green 1 Chris Kirkland
2 Matthew Upson 25 Mario Melchiot
4 Manuel Da Costa 5 Gary Caldwell
5 Jonathan Spector 19 Titus Bramble
3 Valon Behrami 31 Maynor Figueroa
7 Scott Parker 27 Mohamed Diame
6 Radoslav Kovac 14 Charles N’Zogbia

Mark Noble

24 James McCarthy
11 Julien Faubert 8 Ben Watson
10 Carlton Cole 18 Marcelo Moreno
9 Ilan 20 Hugo Rodallega
13 Peter Kurucz 13 Vladimir Stojkovic
12 Daniel Gabbidon 17 Emmerson Boyce
14 Fabio Daprela 2 Steve Gohouri
15 Junior Stanislas 11 Victor Moses
16 Benni McCarthy 7 Paul Scharner
17 Guillermo Franco 9 Jason Scotland
18 Alessandro Diamanti 16 Scott Sinclair
4′     Goal Jonathan Spector (og)
22′     Yellow Card James McCarthy
31′ Goal Ilan    
38′     Player Off Marcelo Moreno
Player On Victor Moses
45′ Goal Radoslav Kovac    
52′     Goal Hugo Rodallega
57′ Yellow Card Jonathan Spector    
58′ Player Off Mark Noble
Player On Fabio Daprela
70′     Yellow Card Titus Bramble
71′ Player Off Ilan
Player On Guillermo Franco
77′ Goal Scott Parker    
90′     Player Off Mohamed Diame
Player On Paul Scharner
90′     Player Off Charles N’Zogbia
Player On Jason Scotland

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