Date: 26th April 2008 at 7:18pm
Written by: baskerville

Wigan went into today`s game knowing that a win would secure Premier League football for a fourth season.

However the Latics turned in a performance which was ineffectual and very rarely looked like securing g the points and in the end could have lost to a very physical Reading side.. To add to Steve Bruce`s worries Melchiot limped off after a foul by Stephen Hunt and may miss the final two games against Villa and Man Utd.

Bruce made one change to the starting line up bringing Koumas in for Taylor in a straight swap in a more attacking formation. Bent and Heskey ,made their expected recovery from knocks sustained last week.

This new formation looked bright literally from the first minute as Wigan tore into Reading attacking them on both flanks with the Melchiot/Valencia combination looking the most likely to provide fruit.

Koumas wasn`t overshadowed by the Ecuadorian and went on a blistering run which ended with a shot over the bar. Bent once again as last week hit the woodwork, this time with a powerful header onto the post from a Koumas cross.

Palacios and brown both looked to bring the ball forward at every opportunity but Wilson fired over after one good run when he should have at least troubled Hanneman in the Reading goal.

Up front, Bent and Heskey seemed lethargic spending most of their time being flagged offside by an assistant who along with the referee maybe should have visited a national chain of optical lens providers.

Up front for Reading Kitson gave Scharner a torrid time often leading with his elbow and it is credit to the big Austrian that he kept Kitson shackled for the majority of the afternoon.

The turning point in the game for me came in the 26th minute when Melchiot was shielding a ball near the corner flag. Hunt challenged him and Melchiot fell to the ground with what appeared to be a leg injury for which Mr Atkinson awarded a free kick. Melchiot limped off and was replaced by Ryan Taylor with Kilbane taking over the captaincy.

Latics pattern seemed to slip and Reading growing in confidence pressed forward onto a Latics side which appeared to be reluctant to press forward , seemingly content to try and hit Reading on the break.

Half time saw the fans watching the players leave the pithc hoping for a better second half performance.

Whatever Steve Bruce said must have had an effect as Latics started the second half off on fire and Michael Brown nearly scored with a blistering drive which Hannemna palmed away for a corner.

Brown looked Latics most dangerous attacking player and again troubled Hanneman with a shot.
At the other end Readings best chances fell to Lita who shot wide after beating Boyce and a goal bound header from Duberry was miraculously plucked out of the air from Kirkland who seemingly appeared from nowhere to rescue the situation

Bent and Heskey both limped off again to be replaced by Sibs and King respectively. King who has yet to score in open play fro the Latics since his big money move form Watford almost sealed the points in the last minute but Hanneman once again saved the day for the Royals.

In the end a draw was a fair result but with very hard games coming up for the Latics nothing can be taken for granted just yet.





Player Ratings

Kirkland?.7
Did everything you would expect form a top class keeper, what a save from Duberry`s header.

Melchiot?6
Captain fantastic`s injury is a worry.

Kilbane?.6.
Worked hard

Boyce?6.5
Was given an afternoon`s work by the Reading forwards and will have earned his day off tomorrow.

Scharner?7.5
His battle with Kitson was worth the admission fee alone

Valencia?6
Quiet once Melchiot went off which shows how much we depend on Mario

Michael Brown?8
Worked hard and looked good going forwards.

Palacios?7
Good attacking runs but woeful finishing. Lucky not to get booked

Koumas?6
Started well but faded badly

Bent?6
Needs to learn what the offside trap is and how to beat it.

Heskey?.6
Needs to learn what the offside trap is and how to beat it.

Taylor?6
Not a patch on Mario, defended OK but created nothing for Valencia going forwards.

Sibierski?6
Didn`t do a great deal
Good shot in the last minute almost won the three points

Manager Rating
Steve Bruce?7/10

Picked the right formation but must have been tearing his hair out at the timid performance.

There were times when Reading had the ball in their own half and the nearest Latics players was near their own penalty area..

Referee Watch
Martin Atkinson?3/10

Inconsistent and inaccurate with his decisions