Date: 30th November 2008 at 1:27pm
Written by: Baskerville

It was a game full of firsts yesterday, first time this season that we have won two games on the bounce, first time that Boyce has scored for Wigan, first time we have come from behind to win since Noah got in his ark!!!

The real statistic however was the four world class saves that Chris Kirkland made, when a lacklustre Wigan with a defence resembling like a collender, looked likely to cave in to the Baggies pressure.

Whatever Steve Bruce’s plans were for his starting line up were thrown into disarry with an injury to Scharner prior to the game. Boyce returned from suspension and Camara took a starting spot in front of Kapo with Palacios once again playing in the unfamiliar spot on the left wing.

Baggies were almost in front within the first minute Morrison who gave Figueroa a torrid afternoon pulling the ball across the area but Miller was unable to contact, had he done it would have been a certain goal.

Much as been made about the Baggies passing game and this was evidenced yesterday. Had they an effective strike force instead of the lone striker Miller then latics would have been on the end of a thrashing.

Latics by contrast were off key as against Everton, the passing game was awful and all Wigan’s attacking options centred on Valencia who was too often caught in possession

Up front for Wigan, Camara looked particulary sharp but was often left isolated from an out of sorts Heskey. Latics best early chances came to Taylor in the form of two free kicks which went narrowly over and the other tipped around the post by the diving Carson.

Heskey’s most telling contribution was a neat flick on to Camara but the ball came to him at such a pace he was unable to keep the ball down and the ball flew over the bar with the net gaping.

Valencia then broke down the right and fired over a pin point cross, Heskey rose magnificantly but headed wide with the goal at his mercy.

Other highlights in the first half were few and far between, the midfield battle between Greening and Cattermole the exception to a moribund first half.

Both teams no doubt received a half time roasting from messers Bruce and Mowbry and it seems the latters had the most immeadiate effect.

Valencia was attacking down the right but was dispossessed when shaping to shoot by Robinson, who hit a hopeful long ball, which was messed up by Bramble who was the last defender , the ball fell to Miller who gave the advancing Kirkland no chance and West Brom were one nil up.

You have to have some sympathy for Bramble, against Everton and yesterday he cleared up after Scharner and Boyce errors but when he makes a mistake, there is never anyone there to do it for him.

This should have been the catalyst for Wigan to finally wake up but they seemed to play even worse with the defence particularly culpable espically the full backs who were tormented by Brunt and Morrison all afternoon.

The next chance fell to Morrison, who broke free leaving Figueroa for dead but his shot was brilliantly stopped by Kirkland’s right boot.

Latics equiliser, when it came owed much to the anticiaptory skills of Camara. Robinson attempted to header the ball back to Carson, Camara anticpated this and when the ball came to him he curled a brilliant shot past the desparing dive of Carson. Wigan against the odds were back level.

Any thoughts that the Baggies would shut up shot and settle for a point were quickly dispelled as they poured forward in search of a winner. From a corner, the centre back Olsson powered a header goalwards and once again Kirkland made a point blank save, which was scrambled away by a relieved defence.

Again West Brom came forwards and Kirkland had to stretch to save a fierce shot from Greening.

Latics winner again came from a West Brom error, an over hit back pass saw Carson unable to stop the ball squirming out of his grasp and the ball went for a corner.
From the corner from Koumas, a bullet header by Boyce, from the edge of penalty area nearly broke the net and WIgan had come from behind to take the lead.

A nervous three minutes injury time saw Latics hanging on but the final whistle from an excellent Mr Dowd, saw Latics gain the three points to move up the table.

Player Ratings

Chris Kirkland…9/10
Englands best keeper no doubt. In my opinion a lot rests on Chris remaining fit for Wigan

Ryan Taylor…5/10
Was given a torrid time by Brunt. Didn’t look happy at being substituted

Maynor Figueroa…4/10
Started off badly and got worse. Played like he is going home in January

Emerson Boyce…6.5/10
Best of a bad defence. A cracking header for the winning goal

Titus Bramble..5/10
One of those afternoons

Antonio Valencia…7/10
Latics only creative outlet

Michael Brown…5.5/10
Looked jaded today

Lee Cattermole…8/10
Kept constantly trying to drive the team forward, Needs a more creative player to play alongside though

Wilson Palacios…6/10
Suffering for being played out of position.Looked better when swiched into the centre late on

Emile Heskey…5/10
An England striker should have buried the header in the first half. Looked a shadow of the player who has lit up England’s performances this year.

Henri Camara…7/10
Has lost some of his pace but has lost none of his anticipatory or finishing skills.

Jason Koumas…6/10
Another frustrating cameo from the mercurial Koumas, some sublime passes and then totally disinterested and lazy

Mario Melchiot…6/10
Shored up the defence when he came on
As for Melchiot

Manager Rating
Steve Bruce…6/10 Has his work cut put to make a premier league team out of such a small squad.

Opponent Rating
Tony Mowbry…7/10 Baggies play good football but are lackign a quality striker to go with Miller. Must re rueing the day they let Kevin Phillips go

Phil Dowd…8/10
An excelelnt performance, unfussy and let the game flow.