Wigan Athletic took three points from the game with Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday and jumped out of the bottom three to the relatively healthy position of 13th in the table, a superb Jordi Gomez free-kick and a poachers goal from Hugo Rodallega gave the Latics their first home win of the season.
Wolves rolled up at the DW Stadium looking to end a dismal run of three straight Premier League defeats and it told with a defensive line up and not much attacking intention.
On 16 minutes that attacking intention was reduced to zero when Wolves midfield man Karl Henry lunged two footed into a challenge on Jordi Gomez that was so ferocious the Latics man was somersaulted into the air and how he escaped serious injury is anyones guess.
Referee Lee Mason only had one option but to show the red card and has Henry left the field so did any hopes of an open game, Wolves crowded their defence hoping to stifle the Latics attacking threat and they were content to squander possession and just sit back.
Latics plugged away patiently, probing for an opening and tested Hahnemann in the Wolves goal several times in the first half to no avail, if the Latics as a team are learning to deal with tight defences the fans certainly aren`t and a few boos were heard as the half-time whistle went.
The second half was in the same vein as the first, Wolves sitting back and Latics patiently pushing the ball around, though Di Santo should have put the home side ahead just two minutes after the restart when a great combination play between himself and Rodallega left the young striker stood on the six yard box, Hahnemann produced a good save and the ball went out for a corner.
When the first goal eventually came it was well worth the wait, Latics were awarded a free-kick on the right edge of the Wolves box after N`Zogbia had been tugged back, Gomez placed the ball then took four measured steps back, similar to a rugby goal kicker, he hit a left footed screamer around the wall and into the far top corner leaving Hahnemann with no chance, a fantastic goal.
Latics pushed and probed to extend their lead and Di Santo was unlucky with an effort from 40 yards that he hit first time following a pass from Gomez, the ball dropped over his shoulder and sensing Hahnemann off his goal line the Argentinean hit a powerful shot that had the Wolves keeper scrambling back and just managing to clear for a corner.
Latics wrapped the game up on 85 minutes when N`Zogbia knocked a through ball into the area, Rodallega chased Wolves defender Berra who got in a muddle with his keeper and Rodallega poked home from 6 yards.
Latics enjoyed 60% possession and 24 goals attempts but more importantly showed that they are learning how to break down stubborn teams and grind out wins
Al Habsi; Gohouri, Alcaraz, Boyce, Thomas (Diame 73), Figueroa (Stam 59); McCarthy, Gomez, N’Zogbia; Di Santo (Watson 84), Rodallega
Subs: Kirkland; Boselli, Moses, S. Caldwell
Hahnemann; Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward (Ebanks-Blake 81); Mancienne, Edwards (Bent 81), Fletcher (Elokobi 51), Jarvis, Foley; Doyle
Subs: Hennessey; Van Damme, Stearman, Jones