Latics knew they needed to put up a good show in this game and for the most part delivered that, especially in the first half. The Hammers did try to stifle our play and held out for 55 minutes before we broke the deadlock, we should have gone on to make it more convincing but three points is three points.
The game started off at a hectic pace but as the midfield of both side cancelled each other out it became more and more obvious that the team that actually made it through to shoot on goal was going to win this.
The first half saw Latics dominate possession for large chunks, Koumas and Diame were running the show in midfield but their hard work could forge any real shooting opportunities until Gomez had the first effort on 11 minutes.
The Spaniard is having a torrid time of it at Wigan at the moment and this was to continue as his well struck shot was guided round the post by Green in the West Ham goals. Two minutes later man of the match Diame went close but saw the ball shave the right hand upright.
Bramble sent a header wide from a corner before we spent 15 minutes wasting chances by hitting passes too hard or making the extra pass when Rodallega was screaming for that killer ball. West Ham started to get a bit of possession themselves but our defence (with Boyce rather than Scharner was standing firm and snuffed out any chance of them getting near goal.
The half was rounded off with Gomez again creating a chance for himself, but Green was on hand to save well and put the ball out for a corner. From the corner the Hammers defence hoofed the ball clear and that sent Cole free who stuck the ball over Kirkland and into the goal, but the striker hadn’t heard the referee blow the whistle moments earlier and the goal was chalked off.
The second half seemed to slow right down, Zola had obviously got his players to settle for a draw after a first half of slim pickings. This seemed to disrupt us and the Hammers started to get a couple of chances
Himes won a free kick just 25 yards out, but Melchiot cleared the ball after Noble lofted it in. Rodallega got a great ball through to him but Tomkins made a last ditch tackle to clear the danger when the striker was bearing down on goal.
This just set us up as a great cross was sent in for Koumas to score only for him to hit Green instead of the back of the net. Luckily the ball rebounded straight to Hugo who had the simplest of tap ins to give Latics the lead.
With 30 minutes to Gomez tried his luck again only for his shot to hit Rodallega and go out for a goal kick. West Ham now had the impetus and started to get behind the Wigan lines, but a lack of quality saw three or four efforts go wide when they really should have been hitting the target at least.
As it was you would have struggled to see Kirkland make a save, Diamante probably had their closest and best chance, but his deflected shot came back off the bar and was cleared to safety. The ref then gave 5 minutes of extra time, from where we don’t know – maybe Ferguson was in charge hey.
The extra time did give Scotland his chance of glory as he was put through one and one with Green but he took too much time and defenders caught him and his shot eventually went out for a corner off the legs of Upson.
The game was rounded off as West Ham sent a free kick high into the box and Kirkland came out to claim the ball. Latics were by far the more adventurous of the two teams and that showed with us having the better efforts, but we are still in desperate need of a more attacking minded player on the pitch to help Rodallega out.
Maybe Sinclair could be given a chance to start a game alongside him to see if this bears more goals, the young Chelsea striker has been brought here for a reason, let’s use it eh???? Gomez still looks very uncomfortable and the crowd are already starting to get on the lads back, he needs to find his position and start getting a couple of good performances under his belt.
Diame though is the great find of the summer; he has everything you need in a player. Hopefully this M’Bami will sign as well because he is of the same ilk and will provide further options for Bobby.