In the last game at the JJB Stadium, a goal from Hugo Rodallega, his third in four games, sealed a very easy Latics victory in which we really should have had a cricket score. It ended a 3 game losing steak we were on but gave the fans something to cheer about in the last game at the JJB.
Latics took the game to Pompey from the the first whistle, Antonio Valencia taking the mick out of Hermann Hreidarsson at every opportunity. The first time he skinned the defender gave Rodallega his opening chance, but the Colombian blazed his shot over the bar.
Begivic, standing in for the injured David James gave a very good account for himself as he dealt with quite a few decent shots in the opening half hour. Daniel de Ridder, plying in his best game for the club, pulled out a fine save from a 20 yard free kick.
The Popmey keeper then had to be alert as he first saved from Emmerson Boyce and then Hugo from the resulting rebound. In the 26th minute though, Rodallega did find a way through, meeting Valencia’s cross to calmly place the ball in from 3 yards.
It was the strikers third goal in four games and if he shows that kind of form next term, we’ll be looking at another star in the making. Mario Melchiot had the best chance of the half as he skipped through the Pompey defence only to see his shot saved.
The ball came straight back to him but he snapped at it and Begovic saw it go harmlessly out for a goal kick. Valencia rounded an excellent half off with another dinking run, but he sliced his shot into the side netting.
Portsmouth came out in the second half determined to halt Latics’ attacks and for a while it worked. They even managed a chance themselves as Peter Crouch and John Utaka combined to make Kingson pull off his only save of the game.
Latics did get back in control and Rodallega could have sealed a hatrick for himself, but the player really needs to learn how to settle himself. Valencia again fed him for the Columbian’s chance of a second, but Hugo snapped at the shot and it bobbled into the Pompey keeper’s hands.
Boyce should have done better from a corner, but his header lacked direction and even though it landed at Hugo’s feet he rushed the shot and it bounded out for a goal kick.
Debut boy Callum McManaman nearly set up Valencia for the final effort of the game, but the Ecuadorian smashed his shot high and wide from a tight angle. It could well be the last we see of Luis as both Manchester United and Real Madrid start a fight for his signature.
Latics took advantage of a Portsmouth team that was already on its holidays, but we really should have made it more emphatic. We finish the season in 11th place, but I think everybody at the club and the fans realise that it should have been a lot better.
Report by Jason Taylor