Date: 26th August 2008 at 10:50pm
Written by: baskerville

Steve Bruce made several changes to the team which suffered a gallant defeat against Chelsea at the weekend including handing Henri Camara his first start in twelve months for the club.

Camara repaid Bruce`s faith in him turning in a superlative performance which harkened back to his first season with the Latic`s.

There is always the temptation in games between the clubs of such differing ability for the players to take the opposition for granted but as Steve Bruce stated Wigan would give County respect and this they did.

Nash replaced Pollitt in goal and the only other change at the back was Lewis Montrose replacing the rested Mario Melchiot. In midfield the industrious Brown replaced Cattermole and with Kilbane and De Ridder on the wings Valencia was granted an unfamiliar central midfield role.

Emile Heskey who has been the subject of speculation re a move to Spurs wqas handed the captain`s arm band.

Latics` started off at a frenetic pace and De Ridder in particular was causing the County defence no end of problem, his only problem was that he tried too hard to walk the ball into the net .

Latics were unlucky to not to gain to penalties for what seemed to be clear handballs

Once again the centre half partnership of Bramble and Boyce were imperious mopping up any half chances that County created.

Latics created half chance after half chance the majority falling to Camara and it seemed only a matter of time before he scored. In the 32nd minute a through ball from Kilbane was blasted into the net. The cheers around the ground for Henri showed that the Latic`s fans have forgiven his past indiscretions.

A half time substitution was the replacement of the out of sort Heskey with the new hero Zaki , Kilbane assuming the captain`s role.

Zaki and Camara immediately struck up an understanding something which has been lacking with Heskey and Camara.

The game was ended as a contest in the 60th minute when Kilbane again laid on a superb pass for Zaki to fire home from close range. Two minutes later Zaki turned provider laying the ball through for Camara to score his second goal.

Latics replaced Valencia and Kilbane with Bouazoun and Kupisz. Much has been made about the quality coming through the youth ranks at the JJB and Kupisz is really the best hope . He capped off an industrious performance with a fine run down the left, he stopped and judged his shot to curl past the keeper perfectly into the far corner.

Player Ratings

Carlo Nash…6/10
Only one gaffe tonight

Lewis Montrose…6/10
Lacks the confidence to go forward passing sideways too often and one suicidal back pass was almost punished

Titus Bramble…8/10
Looking like a classy centre half and almost scored a goal!!!

Emerson Boyce…8/10
Hardly noticed him which shows how good he is

Maynor Figueroa…7/10
An untroubled performance

Kevin Kilbane…8/10
An industrious performance and created two of the goals

Antonio Valencia…6.5/10
Looked lost in centre midfield

Daniel De Ridder…8/10
A very creative player, unlucky not to score with a free kick

Emile Heskey…5/10
An out of sorts first half, mind elsewhere perhaps?

Henri Camara…9/10
A worthy man of the mstch

Michael Brown…8/10
Chased and harried all night and didnt get booked!!!

Amr Zaki…8.5/10
This guy is class

Rachid Bouazoun…6/10
some nice touches but not Premier League material
A wonderful goal topped off an industrious performance

Manager Rating
8/10 Bruce gambled with his selections including playing his talimain Zaki in the second half. Lack of injuries suggests that the gamble was worthwhile