Date: 20th October 2007 at 8:02pm
Written by: baskerville

baskerville reports from the JJB

Wigan lost their second consecutive home game today and have now gone over 200 minutes without scoring.

The team news prior to kick off was mixed, Melchioot and Valencia failing to recover from hamstring and knee injuries respectively but Koumas being passed fit after missing the Wales internationals.

Boyce moved to right back to replace Melchiot with Granqvist coming in at centre half with Landzaat starting in centre midfield as captain with Sibs partnering Bent up front

Hreidarsson and Campbell were both passed fit for Pompey and Harry Rednapp must have been relieved as they were both inspirational in a resolute defence.

The game started brightly and within five minutes Wigan were to have their one and only good opportunity, a flick on from Granqvist found Scharner at the back post who headed against the post.

This proved to be a false dawn as a lacklustre Wigan struggled to create any meaningful play.

The passing was disjointed, there was very little ball through to the front two and both wingers seemed to move infield to often narrowing the play.

Having said that Pompey weren`t any better, where as their passing was more crisp and the front two looked more sharp( when they stopped theatrically falling in the penalty area) there rarely troubled Kirkland who had one shot to stop and was well beaten by another which hit the post.

Just on half time Sibs who seemed to be singled out for some special attention won a free kick, Koumas curled it round the wall but the ball looped over the bar.

Fans were wondering whether Hutchins half time team talk would galvanise the team but it was more of the same.

The back four looked comfortable Bramble in particular dealing with anything and everything thrown at him.

Sibs was replaced part way through the second half with back problems after falling heavily under a challenge being replaced by Agahowa whose first action was to get booked for raising his foot into the back on a Pompey defender.

His second was to count stars after blocking a fierce free kick with his head and that was the sum total of his useful contributions.

With no side looking remotely like scoring it began to look like we would hold on for a nil- nil draw however on the 80th minute Muntari crossed from the left to Benjani who got in front of the defence to beat the advancing Kirkland.

This sparked the Wigan walk with large number of fans leaving from all the stands

Any hope that this would spur Wigan into action was false as the players visibly drooped at this goal and with no substitutions happening they attempted to push forward without any real urgency and were caught again when Glen Johnson beat Kirkland again.

For the first time this season boos could be held around the ground and these were magnified at full time.

The only reason they weren`t louder is because there was less than a third of the crowd left at the end except for the very happy Pompey fans who were travllig home with three points without playing well.

With a big game coming up against one of our relegation rivals next week at Birmingham( and we are in the mire no doubt about it ) it will be a test of Hutchins managerial skills to lift the team and get them playing football again.

Next weeks game at Birmingham is a real 6 pointer

Player Ratings

Kirkland – 5
Paid to stop goals , three shots on target two goals conceded

Boyce – 6
Worked hard in defence and played more right wing football than the right winger Scharner. Was left exposed by the midfield but performed admirably

Granqvist – 6
Another hard worked against two very lively forwards, didn`t deserve to be on a losing side.

Bramble – 6.5
Once again he is proving the critics wrong

Killbane – 6
Caught for pace a few times but once again proved to be worth his place in the starting line up at left back.

Scharner – 4
Playing out of position and it showed, seemed unsure who to mark and was often drifting in off his wing. Was the subject of a great deal of criticism from the East Stand faithful in the first half.

Landzaat – 5
Not a day to remember as captain, a few nice passes but most were sideways and created little going forwarded, allowed Pompey midfield to dominate.

Brown – 5
Amazed he wasn`t booked as most of his tackles resulted in free kicks. Had a titanic battle with Papa Dioup but came off second best.

Koumas – 5
Didn`t look fit, was mainly content to pass sideways rather than go forward and wasted all his set pieces.

Sibierski – 5
Becoming the new sick note. Worked hard but had very little quality ball to play with.

Bent – 4
Poor, again little quality ball but didn`t seem to want to go looking for it unlike Sibs. One shot into the side netting which was never going to go in from the angle.

Aghahowa – 4
Didn`t do anything to win over the faithful, seems to drift towards the corner flag

Manager Rating

Poor tactics, poor football and no tactical substitutions. Not convinced he is the man for the job and 2 points from 21 , no goals in 3 games, 4 consecutive defeats spells a long hard winter ahead.