Wigan Athletic have only themselves to blame for not getting anything out of this game as a much improved performance saw us unlucky not to get at least a point.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – DW STADIUM – Tuesday 25th January 2011

James McCarthy (80)

Gabriel Agbonlahor(49)
Ashley Young (62)

Latics had come off the back off three truly dismal displays and they showed really good character to pull their socks up and get into this game. Aston Villa were riding high and you could see the confidence in their team now.

To be fair we started the game off pretty well and for long parts of the first half we looked like we would streak ahead, but early efforts from Hugo Rodallega and Franco di Santo went the wrong side of the posts.

Rodallega later found himself 25 yards out with a free kick, but his strike was probably too good and it helped Friedel pull off a good save.

It wasn’t long before Hugo again was testing out the Villains keeper and this time the Colombian was very unlucky not score. Charles N’Zogbia was putting himself about a bit, but as we often see he was trying to take on that one defender too many.

The Frenchman did however produce a fine effort just inside the penalty area that just brushed over the crossbar. Hugo then had two or three more efforts that went wide of the mark and we started to think then that this wasn’t going to be our night.

We did have a few scares of our own, Darren Bent, Stuart Downing and Ashley Young all made Al Habsi work hard, but our on loan keeper was more than good enough for them.

The half ended with di Santo and McCarthy having shots blocked, but on the plus side we had seen an entertaining half that had more efforts than all our previous three games put together. After 45 minutes in which we pummelled the Villa defence, having not scored it was very disappointing.

That disappointment worsened just after half time as Villa got a lucky break as Gabby Agbonlahor profited from a fine save by Al Habsi from a corner and after Thomas failed to clear, it was 1-0 and a goal more than they deserved.

Thomas then imploded again as he gave away a stupid penalty, fouling Ashley Young in the box. The youngster brushed himself down and scored the penalty himself. It was then 11 men behind the ball and very few opportunities were to be had.

Shots from Figueroa, McCarthy and N’Zogbia all failed to test the keeper, but Ben Watson’s effort was so close it had half the ground cheering. We did manage to pull a goal back and give a last 5 minutes onslaught.

A well taken effort from James McCarthy sailed into the back of the net after a great pass from Charles N’Zogbia, deflection aside the keeper would have been picking it out.

It proved too little too late and we ended up ruing our missed chances in the first half, but on the plus side it was a much better performance and we will hopefully take tha into the games against West Brom and Blackburn.


Cockney Latic Man of the Match: James McCarthy
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Attendance: 16,442
26 Ali Al Habsi 1 Brad Friedel
17 Emmerson Boyce 29 James Collins
13 Steven Caldwell 5 Richard Dunne
2 Steve Gohouri 32 Nathan Baker
31 Maynor Figueroa 24 Carlos Cuellar
18 James McArthur 20 Nigel Reo-Coker
10 Charles N’Zogbia 6 Stewart Downing
4 James McCarthy 17

Jean Makoun

20 Hugo Rodallega 39 Darren Bent
6 Hendry Thomas 11 Gabriel Agbonlahor
7 Franco Di Santo 7 Ashley Young
1 Chris Kirkland 33 Andy Marshall
8 Ben Watson 8 Robert Pires
23 Ronnie Stam 12 Marc Albrighton
27 Mohamed Diame 31 Chris Herd
14 Jordi Gomez 19 Stiliyan Petrov
38 Callum McManaman 18 Emile Heskey
11 Victor Moses 14 Nathan Delfouneso
20′ Yellow Card Maynor Figueroa    
22′     Yellow Card Jean Makoun
49′     Goal Gabriel Agbonlahor
56′     Player Off Jean Makoun
Player On Stylian Petrov
62′     Goal Ashley Young
63′ Yellow Card Steve Gohouri    
66′ Player Off Hendry Thomas
Player On Ben Watson
66′ Player Off Emmerson Boyce
Player On Ronnie Stam
77′     Player Off Gabriel Agbonlahor
Player On Marc Albrighton
80′ Goal James McCarthy    
85′ Player Off James McCarthy
Player On Callum McManaman
88′     Player Off Ashley Young
Player On Chris Herd
89′     Yellow Card Carlos Cruellar
90′     Yellow Card Brad Freidel

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