Date: 11th January 2009 at 5:08pm
Written by: Baskerville

Normal service was resumed at the JJB, as Steve Bruce restored his injured and rested players to first team action.

They responded with a spirited, hard worked victory over a limited Spurs side, thereby increasing the pressure on Harry Rednapp’s men.

Jermaine Defoe made his second debut for Sours and immeadately caused problems for the Wigan defence, with a cross which was headed goalwards by King, resulting in a dropped ball by Kirkland, which was cleared for the first corner after 50 seconds.

Defoe no doubt hoped to influence the watching England manager Capello, however it was the man marking him Titus Bramble who stole the show with another tremendous defensive performance.

In truth, both sides put in tremendous defensive stints with Zaki often going out wide on the left looking to escape the clutches of Woodgate and Dawson. Heskey who took a knock early on, put in one of his more enigmatic performances.

As usual Latics best play came down the right wing from Valencia suppored by Melchiot. In midfield Palacios made a welcome return to form, growing in confidence as the game progressed.

Palacios put Zaki through on the right but he delayed his shot and allowed Dawson to block his effort, resulting in a corner. Palcios also tried a spectacular overhead kick and Taylor had a trademark free kick which went narrowly over the bar, as Wigan finished the half the stronger.

The second half started again,with Wigan as the dominant team but what will be a concern for Steve Bruce, is the very few clear cut chances created against a team who had come to defend deep and soak up Wigan’s pressure.

Zaki had a few headers which went narrowly wide and Valencia once again flashed crosses into the area,which no one could get on the end for.

Gomes in the Spurs goal developed a leg injury, which resulted in a greatly increased mobilty but Wigan tested him with very few shots.

The best chance fell to Heskey, as he appeared to have beaten the offside trap, putting him one on one with Gomes but the linesman correctly flagged for offside.

The game appeared to be petering out for a draw, when in injury time Latics won a corner. A pin point corner from Taylor, found Figueroa who haeaded past the stationary Gomes, to spark wild celebarations amongst the Wigan fans and players and the mass exodus of the long suffering Spurs fans.

Latics deserved their victory but the lack of clear cut chances for the strike force and the dearth of a quality wide elft player will need to be addressed.

Player Ratings

Kirkland…7/10
One of his quieter afternoons

Melchiot…7/10
A steady performance from the captain

Figueroa….7.5/10
Worked hard and the goal was fine reward for a commited performance.

Titus Bramble…9/10
A titanic performance in front of the England manager.

Paul Scharner…8.5/10
Totslly commited and only shaded for man of the match by his centre half partner.

Antonio Valencia…8/10
Put the not for sale signs up

WIlson Palacios…8/10
A return to his best form

Lee Cattermole…7/10
One of his quieter performances

Ryan Taylor…7/10
Dangerous at set pieces but looks lost on the left

Emile Heskey…6.5/10
An ineffectual performance in what could be his last game for the club

Amr Zaki…7.5/10
Ran himself to a standstill and deserved a goal for his efforts, although worryingly was given very little quslity ball

Manager Rating
Steve Bruce…8/10

Has got his side superfit and their commmitment to the final whistle bore fruit once again

Opponent Rating
Harry Rednapp…5/10

Came to defend and got caught late on.