After a disastrous first 10 minutes, Latics showed the gall, the determination and the experience of a top Premier League club and pummelled West Ham. Unfortunately the best team doesn’t always win and Zaki’s goal wasn’t enough for Wigan Athletic after Ashton’s double put the Hammers in front.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – Boleyn Ground – Saturday August 16th 2008
Dean Ashton (3, 10)
Amr Zaki (47)

A cracking goal and an extremely lucky goal from Dean Ashton in the first 10 minutes saw Latics lose, even though the very impressive Zaki pulled one back.

After the early disappointment of an against the run of play double from Dean Ashton a resilient and very attacking minded Latics side could and should have won this match convincingly.

From the kick off West Ham showed signs that they were a good team, this was supported by them going two nil. But after Dean Ashton had completed his double it was all Latics, Zaki and Heskey were linking up really well and the shaky start by the new comers the team was becoming a distant memory as they started to gel.

If you asked me who was playing in midfield for West Ham (the so called lovely passers of the beautiful game) I wouldn’t be able to tell you who played there.

The ball was punted forward more than (yes I say MORE THAN) watching a Bolton match. Ashton, even though he scored two goals, was unable to make any more headway and was taken off after injuring himself after a very wayward freekick.

The few travelling supporters were demoralised after the first ten minutes, but at the end of the game we all said how much the team created chances. Ashton opened the scoring after just three minutes with a cracking volley.

His second was extremely lucky as a corner somehow found its way to him on the goal line for an easy tap in. In between Latics could have equalised with Valencia whipping in two wicked crosses but Heskey and Zaki were unable to steer the ball home.

Everything after the second Hammers goal was all Latics. They restricted the home side to very few opportunities and counter attacks as they were mauled all over the park. The extremely impressive Zaki is going to go down in folk law for Latics on this performance. Every Wigan fan at the ground commented on his energy, skill and eye for goal.

The Egyptian International was unlucky not to score five today, had it been in two weeks time after a bit of match practise, this boy could have embarrassed West Ham. On countless occasions the lads peppered the Hammers goal, Green had to be on top form, but when he couldn’t get near there always seemed to be someone there on the line to clear.

Early in the second half though, Zaki did make his mark with a clinical finish from a flick on by Emile Heskey. The Egyptian International volleyed the ball into the top of Green’s goal, giving us the breakthrough. With 43 minutes left of the game and with the boys in ‘Viz’ Yellow storming on, it looked like there was only going to be one winner.

Palacios had a speculative effort go just wide, whilst Kapo and Valencia had efforts blocked by last ditch defending. Zaki had a further two chances to put the game away, but Green pulled off a world class save whilst Carlton Cole cleared another off the line. Lee Cattermole wasted a chance by blasting over the bar from 20 yards.

Moving into the latter stages, Cattermole, Scharner and Melchiot were sacrificed for Koumas, Sibierski and Daniel de Ridder. But their efforts were to be in vain. It looked like we were playing a 2-1-7 formation at one point, which showed that Bruce was brave enough to throw everything at it when needed.

Zaki was gifted the last chance of the game that would have shared the points, but he blazed over from 8 yards and the game was blown to an end by Steve Bennett.

Next week we play Chelsea and they will have to be prepared for a tough game on these observations.

All in all the result didn’t go our way, but the lads have given us a lot to be optimistic about.

Report by Jason Taylor

Cockney Latic Man of the Match: Amr Zaki
Referee: Steve Bennett
Attendance: 32,758
1 Robert Green 1 Chris Kirkland
2 Lucas Neill 25 Mario Melchiot
15 Matthew Upson 17 Emmerson Boyce
27 Calum Davenport 7 Paul Scharner
21 Valon Behrami 31 Maynor Figueroa
11 Matthew Etherington 4 Lee Cattermole
8 Scottt Parker 5 Wilson Palacios

Mark Noble

23 Olivier Kapo
20 Julien Faubert 16 Antonio Valencia
9 Dean Ashton 9 Emile Heskey
12 Carlton Cole 13 Amr Zaki
24 Jan Lastuvka 12 Mike Pollitt
32 Jordan Spence 19 Titus Bramble
29 Lee Bowyer 8 Kevin Kilbane
28 Kyel Reid 10 Jason Koumas
17 Hayden Mullens 6 Antoine Sibierski
33 Freddie Sears 18 Daniel de Ridder
13 Luis Boa Morte 11 Michael Brown
3′ Goal Dean Ashton    
10′ Goal Dean Ashton    
39′ Yellow Card Scott Parker    
47′     Goal Amr Zaki
49′ Yellow Card Calum Davenport    
68′     Yellow Card Wilson Palacios
72′ Player Off Scott Parker
Player On Hayden Mullins
73′ Player Off Dean Ashton
Player On Freddie Sears
83′     Player Off Mario Melchoit
Player On Daniel de Ridder
83′     Player Off Paul Scharner
Player On Jason Koumas
85′     Player Off Lee Catermole
Player On Antoine Sibieski
86′ Player Off Julian Faubert
Player On Luis Boa Morte

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