Date: 12th January 2008 at 8:52pm
Written by: baskerville

Nearly 2,000 Wiganers came away from Pride Park today happy with the result but frustrated at a dis-jointed ineffectual performance that could be described as a “lucky win”.

Paul Jewell included all his four new signings today in an attempt to turn the tide and Steve Bruce replaced the injured Taylor with the debutant Palacios thereby ignoring the regular left winger in the early part of the season in Jason Koumas.

Wigan started like an express train a break by Valencia resulted in a shot which appeared goal bound until a defender got in the way .

After that the first half was mostly one way traffic, Derby rarely threatened and when thye did the superb Titus Bramble who must be the coolest player on the pitch nullified any attacks.

Kirkland was only called into action several times, a couple of brave dives at Villa`s feet and one superb save although the linesman`s flag was already up.

At the other end Wigan totally dominated a nervous Derby defence with Claude Davis particularly looking under pressure but Heskey and Bent were both off key and Bent missed a good chance and then had a goal disallowed for offside.

Michael Brown totally dominated Robbie Savage and a poor clearance from the Welshman fell to Brown who forced Price into a good save.

The best chance of the half came in injury time, the ball bounced about several times in the area and there appeared to be a good shout for a penalty, however Clattenberg didn`t blow and when the ball fell to Valencia he conspired to blast wide

The second half started much the same as the first, Wigan totally dominated the possession but seemed content to either walk the ball into the net or pass backwards much to the frustration of the travelling faithful.

The turning point came in the 59th minute when a foul by Davies resulted in a second yellow. My view is that this was harsh, certainly it was a foul but worse tackles hadn`t resulted in a yellow card one lunge on Valencia in the first half comes to mind in particular.

Wigan attempted to stretch Derby but Derby marshalled a rear guard action which Bent and Heskey couldn`t break down.

Steve Bruce however came to the rescue, replacing debutant Palacios with Koumas who received a tremendous reception from the Latics fans.

Koumas looked sharp and stretched the Derby defence creating more space for the rest of the team.

In the 80th minute Siberski replaced Landzaat Bruce deciding to maximise the man advantage and go to 4 -3 -3.

Siberski`s first touch was a rasping shot from the edge of the penalty areas which left Lewis with no chance and Latics had the lead.

From then on Latics shut up shop and Derby didn`t seem to have the skill to break down the resolute defence.

At the final whistle “Super Mario” led the majority of the team down to the jubilant Wigan fans. It was evident how much this result meant in terms of moving away from the bottom three and maintaining the momentum built up under Bruce`s stewardship.

Conclusion

A poor performance but a good result which moves us onto the same number of points as Bolton and Birmingham

Player Ratings

Chris Kirkland?7
Some brave saves at the feet of Villa and commanded his area better than earlier int eh season.

Melchiot?.7
Once again enables us to say Pascal who????

Kilbane?5
Not his best game, poor passing and exposed for pace

Bramble?8
No Newcastle you cant have him back, timeless on the ball.

Boyce? 6
Competent performance but not to the standard of last season

Valencia?6
Provides the thrills but seems to be content to pass backwards when he has beaten a man. Should have scored today

Michael Brown?8.5
Once again Brown nullified Savage and was at the hub of all our attacking moves. Also defended superbly and ran himself into the ground

Landzaat?6
Not his best game, tried hard and harried the Derby midfield.

Palacios?6
Not his natural position and it showed, a few nice touches and will be a good addition to the squad.

Bent?5
Not a good day at the office, didn`t strike up a partnership with Heskey and seemed content to pass back rather than run at the defence.

Heskey?5
Not playing well at present and doesn`t seem match fit yet. Will have benefited from a full 90 minutes

Koumas?7
Looked sharp, stretched the Derby defence and raised the tempo of the game. Should not be sold ( don`t mention the shots though)

Siberski?7
Played a few good balls through for the other attackers and scored a great goal with his first touch of the game. Has earned a chance to stay at the club IMO

Manager Rating
Bruce?8

Great tactical awareness in bringing on Koumas and Sibs. Don`t tell the Newscastle board what a good job he is doing

Ref Watch
Clattenberg?5

Some funny decisions as usual from Mr C