HU-BEAUTY! A relegation six-pointer for Wigan Athletic at the DW stadium and with the two teams sharing 122 goals conceded between them the betting man would have money on there being goals at the DW. A high tempo affair with both teams hungry for a win.


Rodallega 90


Burnley were the quicker out of the traps and looked the hungrier of the two to capitalise on what was a massive game. After only 3 minutes Wigan were put to the test defensively with Wade Elliott profiting from a poor Wigan Athletic clearance which was blocked but Wigan again failed to deal with the second ball and Steven Fletcher latched on to the loose ball only to fire in to the grateful hands of Kirkland.

With Burnley continuing to attack on loan striker David Nugent took it upon himself to test the Wigan Athletic goal flashing a half chance over from a full 25 yards out. Wigan’s defence however stood strong in the opening 5 minutes of the first stanza and defensively were looking very solid.

The best chance of the half fell Wigan’s way and to the hands of Scottish centre half Gary Caldwell. Wigan profited from a defensive mix up from Brian Jensen and Graham Alexander which resulted in a corner. With the ball swung in to the area, Caldwell out jumped the Burnley defence and rattled the cross bar.

Then came the first of two incidents to affect Wigan. Michael Duff appeared to lead with the forearm against Paul Scharner but the referee failed to spot the incident which left Scharner on the deck for some time. Duff could face some FA action should the referee see fit and also if the referee had seen the incident it could of left Burnley down to ten men and therefore making their quest for survival much more difficult.

As the first half progressed Burnley continued to pressure Wigan with Tyrone Mears and Martin Paterson combining well to win a corner at Hendry Thomas’ expense. The resulting corner from Graham Alexander was not dealt with by the Wigan Athletic defence and fell to Stephen Jordan who struck the ball in to a crowd of blue and white with Kirkland grateful to get his hands on the ball. Wigan’s backline was standing firm with key interceptions and decisions from Gary Caldwell and Titus Bramble keeping the advancing Burnley attack at bay.

On 34 minutes Wigan were forced in to a change. Paul Scharner was replaced by Jason Scotland which resulted in a shift in formation for Martinez’s men. Wigan continued to press forward and squandered a number of chances, one being Hugo Rodallega’s free kick not finding a single Wigan player.

The end of the half saw Wigan on the ascendancy once again and some lovely work between Rodallega and Moreno made an opening for Mohamed Diame to turn and shoot, but like most of Wigan’s efforts in the first half the shot fired wide.

At the interval Wigan was greeted with boo’s and jeers but on the whole the first half was not a bad score line considering Wigan were slow in getting started.

The second half provided a great improvement from Wigan. Jason Scotland creating a number of chances to score but yet his first Premier League goal still eludes him. A shot from around 25 yards out stated Scotland’s intention of getting his first Premier League goal and also the teams desire to win the match.

On 50 minutes came one of the talking points of the afternoon. James McCarthy was surging through the Burnley penalty area when Leon Cort appeared to foul McCarthy. Mr Jones was not interested by the players and fans appeals and replays may suggest that Wigan were unlucky. The foul, or not as the case was, was part of a string of late and needless fouls from Burnley in the opening exchanges in the second half and this showed the amount of frustration that the team had boiling inside.

The second incident which hit Wigan was Chris Kirkland being struck by an object from the Burnley end. Kirkland had to receive treatment on the field and there was some blood left on the England keeper’s head. The incident will more than likely result in an investigation by both Wigan Athletic and the FA.

The second half seemed to be all Wigan’s and it took Burnley over 15 minutes to gain their feet in the second half. On 60 minutes Burnley went close when Graham Alexander fired wide of Chris Kirkland’s post from a free kick just outside the area. The teams exchanged attacks with Rodallega having a header cleared off the line by Wade Elliott with Brian Jensen seemingly beaten.

Brian Laws felt that his team could do with some more fire power up front and replaced Steven Fletcher with Robbie Blake on 68 minutes. Shortly after that Burnley created a couple of chances with Kevin McDonald firing a ball across the face of goal and then perhaps Burnley’s best chance of the afternoon which fell to Martin Paterson. Paterson found himself with a sight of goal after a ball over the top caught Caldwell out but he could only find the bar with Kirkland beaten.

With both teams in desperate need of the win the tempo did not cease. McCarthy and Scotland continued to create opportunities with Rodallega providing support when needed. Wigan stated their intentions to go on and win the game after 74 minutes by bringing on Victor Moses for Hendry Thomas. This provided Wigan with much more speed and skill down the wings and Moses posed a threat against the Burnley full back.

As the teams entered the last ten minutes Wigan started to create more chances with Rodallega bearing down on goal Stephen Jordan defends well and Brian Jensen dealt with the resulting loose ball. Marcelo Moreno did well to turn Michael Duff but Duff pulled Moreno back and was booked as a result. Questions however will be asked if to Duff should of still been on the pitch after his earlier incident.

As the game drew to a close Wigan started to turn the screw. Moses was causing Burnley all sorts of problems down the right hand side and his ball in was not dealt with properly by the Burnley keeper and his punch fell to Scotland who had his effort pushed over. The resulting corner lead to Diame having an attempt from the edge of the area but Jensen once again denied the Latics.

With the fourth official signalling 4 minutes added time both teams set out in search of the win. Chris Kirkland was called into action to save well from David Nugent whilst at the other end Wigan were unlucky not to capitalise on some poor Burnley defending in the area.

Finally the break through arrived. Victor Moses cuts in from the right hand side and flights a lovely ball towards the waiting Rodallega who meets it with precision and heads the ball home past Jensen. Just what Wigan deserved for all their second half pressure and a huge sigh of relief rang out around the DW Stadium as Wigan had finally taken the initiative in such a tense encounter.

As the final seconds ticked by, Burnley won themselves a corner which Jensen contested. However the move petered out and Mike Jones brought the afternoon’s events to a close. Wigan had taken a huge step towards survival and with other results around them benefiting the Latics it was a fantastic afternoon.

After the game, Burnley manager Brian Laws stated that he was devastated by the loss in such a manner and that he cannot fault the Burnley player’s performance, commitment and desire towards the cause. Laws admitted that Burnley face a tall order but he would rather lose a game going for the 3 points rather than sitting back. When questioned about the Duff and Scharner incident, Laws adopted the Arsene Wenger approach by claiming he did not see the incident.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said that he was pleased with the maturity of the side and that the maturity that they showed was above the age of the side. He was pleased with Moses contribution especially his ball to Rodallega and the goal is what the team has deserved after results against Birmingham, Everton and Villa.

Martinez was pleased that Kirkland remained on the pitch as he was required to make a vital save from Nugent but he is ok. Martinez feels that the relegation fight will go down to the wire and that there will be many twists and turns between now and the end of the season but to be above 30 points now is a massive success.

Altogether Wigan took full advantage of the relegation ‘6-pointer’ and now have chances of survival in their own hands.

Report by Simon Gregory

Cockney Latic Man of the Match: Momo Diame
Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)
Attendance: 18,498
1 Chris Kirkland 12 Brian Jensen
25 Mario Melchiot 2 Graham Alexander
5 Gary Caldwell 4 Michael Duff
19 Titus Bramble 14 Tyrone Mears
31 Maynor Figueroa 23 Stephen Jordan
27 Mohamed Diame 18 Leon Cort
7 Paul Scharner 11 Wade Elliott
24 James McCarthy 7 Kevin McDonald
18 Marcelo Moreno 22 David Nugent
6 Hendry Thomas 10 Martin Paterson
20 Hugo Rodallega 9 Steven Fletcher
13 Vladimir Stojkovic 31 Nicky Weaver
4 Antonio Amaya 15 David Edgar
2 Steve Gohouri 21 Andre Bikey
15 Jordi Gomez 15 Jack Cork
11 Victor Moses 33 Chris Eagles
9 Jason Scotland 20 Robbie Blake
16 Scott Sinclair 30 Steven Thompson
33′ Player Off Paul Scharner
Player On Jason Scotland
53′ Yellow Card Tyrone Mears
67′ Yellow Card Titus Bramble
68′ Player Off Stephen Fletcher
Player On Robbie Blake
74′ Player Off Hendry Thomas
Player On Victor Moses
75′ Yellow Card Kevin McDonald
80′ Yellow Card Michael Duff
81′ Player Off Martin Paterson
Player On Chris Eagles
90′ Goal Hugo Rodallega