Latics beat Middlesbrough for the first time on home soil and gained their first points of the new season in doing so
Manager Chris Hutchings made one change fron the side that narrowly lost to Everton at the weekend, Antione Sibierski replacing Caleb Folan in attack
Latics could have gone ahead as early as the 4th minute when Sibierski went close with a rasping drive, this set the pattern of play for the rest of the half with Latics creating a host of chances in a one sided affair
On 20 minutes Denny Landzaat found the time to bring the ball down and chip a dainty shot just wide from 12 yards.
Jason Koumas went on a mazey run from the half way line and appeared to take on the whole Boro team, he cut the ball back from the deadball line to Melchiot on the edge of the area who was fouled and earned Latics a free kick
Koumas took the kick and sent the ball curling round the wall and heading for the top corner of the net only for Swartzer to scramble the ball round the post for a Latics corner
The second half contiued as the first with Koumas trying his luck from just outside the box just after the restart, but Swartzer was equal to his effort
Latics finally got the goal they deserved on 54 minutes.
Valencia received the ball 25 yards out and fired in a deflected shot that Schwarzer could only deflect onto the toes of Sibierski who gleefully put the ball in the net for his second goal in two games since joing from Newcastle
Middlesbrough tried to get back into the game but with a little more composure Latics could have scored another three before the end with Scharner the main culprit missing a guilt edge chance following a break
So Middlesbrough finally taste defeat in Wigan and Hutch is off the mark
Sibierski will soon become a Latics favourite with the way he plays, and a goal a game always helps
There is still a concern with the left side of the team and at times Latics were left a little open
Kirkland – 7
Solid when under pressure but in truth very little to do
Melchiot – 8
Good all round performance, got up and down the right supporting the attack and solid in defence
Bramble – 7
Like a brick wall tonight, nothing was getting past him
Granqvist – 8
Very cultured display from the Swede, reminded of a young DeZeeuw
Kilbane – 7
Gave 100%, stuck to his task well all night, got forward when he could, all in all a good display
Valencia – 7
Good running with the ball, came inside on numerous occassions switching the play, good performance
Scharner – 7
Got into some excellent positions let down by his finishing, could, no should have had a hat trick
Landzaat – 8
Absolutely superb display tonight, gave the ball away after 2 minutes, then once that was out of his system turned on a cultured midfield display
Koumas – 8
Started quietly then burst into life with a mazey run that took him through nearly all the Boro team, came inside a lot and looked very comfortable
Heskey – 7
Led the line superbly, won lots of balls in the air good performance
Sibierski – 7
Good game always looking to be involved, scored the games only goal on 55 minutes. Went off injured appeared to be cramp
Aghahowa – 6
Replaced the injured Sibierski on 66 minutes put in lots of running
Latics – Kilbane
Boro – Sanli, Johnson, Arca
‘It’s always nice to get the first victory under your belt. To get three points tonight is very pleasing.
‘It was a big team effort. I thought we could have scored a few more to be quite honest.
‘It was quite an open game, but I was delighted that we kept a clean sheet. There were a lot of plusses.’
‘We didn’t do enough to win the game, that’s for sure.
‘We weren’t quite positive enough until we’d gone behind. We’ve got to pick ourselves up. Nobody’s going to help us out – it’s down to us.
‘We didn’t deserve anything and the players know that. We’ve got to go to Fulham and get something on Saturday.’
Latics Vs Sunderland
Saturday 18th August 2007