The 2000 memories series continues, celebrating the Latics hitting 2000 points as a league club in the recent game against Fulham, Vital member Phil Blinston, better known as zakidaman to regulars on the site, tells us which game has been the most memorable to him, over to you Phil:
ONE HELL OF A WEEKEND
Sheffield United 1-2 Wigan Athletic 13th May 2007
Relegation was stirring Wigan in the face.
My Partner and I set out from Wigan around 10am with our two sons Chris and Louis. The boys were fine, laughing a joking in the back seats. My own thoughts where, how on earth had it come to this, but I was positive we’d come through by the end of this day. I just never realised how close.
Cazzy was feeling sick with nerves inside. The morning was beautiful and we were soon heading over the Pennines across the famous Snake Pass and down into the City of Sheffield. As we entered the City we passed the famous Hillsborough Stadium, bringing back some old memories of FA Cup games when we were ‘Mighty Giant killers from the past` and somehow I couldn`t help but think this time we are Premiership, we must not, we cannot not fail.
I parked the car, and was met by Banter from Owls fans wishing us luck, haha. Boy would we need it!! Downing burgers and hotdogs we walked down to the visiting end.
An old Stadium modernised, we were at last amongst our own fans, singing and jubilant, the atmosphere was like nothing I`d ever know at any Wigan game. Five thousand fans were here and it was tremendous. Our seats were in the centre beneath the scoreboard and Bramall Lane was full to the brim. We were sat near a guy holding up a big Silver cup and we were all singing “We`ve won it two times over and over” What a feeling.
The game itself was fast and furious; Jewell had selected McCulloch to support Emile Heskey in attack, which suggested the manager expected a tough, physical battle. The Blades needing only a draw to avoid defeat did not appear to know whether to attack, or defend, they did neither with conviction.
Heskey dominated Matthew Kilgallon, Scharner ruled the midfield. It was no surprise when, after 14 minutes, Wigan went ahead. Heskey was allowed to receive the ball without challenge; he picked out Kevin Kilbane on the left, who crossed for Scharner to blast home. Within the next 10 minutes Heskey delivered a cross from which Scharner should have added a second, he then sent Scharner through the centre. Had he freed the unmarked McCulloch, the match would have been all but over.
Arjan de Zeeuw was taken off with an ankle injury and Scharner was moved back to central defence. Sheffield took full advantage, and around seven minutes later Phil Jagielka fizzed in a cracking cross from the right and Stead rose ahead of Mike Pollitt to head in. 1-1.
Stead and Pollitt required lengthy treatment after clashing heads and Ryan Taylor, who had also been in the mix and fallen badly, was taken away on a stretcher. Our hearts were in our mouths. Taylor was replaced by Unsworth. His first touch clipped Nade’s ankle and cost him a booking.
David Unsworth scored a penalty after a hand ball from Jagielka which more or less condemned his old team mates to relegation. I will never forget when that ball went in the net and the all Wigan fans went crazy. We had silenced the Sheffield fans yet again.
News was to later come in from Old Trafford, via hand held radio`s from our fans, that Carlos Tevez had scored West Hams only goal. Oh no, I thought. How could that be!! I was shocked to learn that West Ham had beaten Man UTD.
In the first half, all Bramall Lane stood together, Sheffield and Wigan fans singing together “Stand up if you hate West Ham, and that too was a poignant moment, given how West Ham eventually stayed up.
Sheffield had laid siege to our goal in the second half. Sheffield`s Danny Webber, hit the inside of the post after 55 minutes in front of our eyes, and somehow the ball stayed out. Sheffield fans were up on their feet, they thought they had scored.
Wigan battled on and we had now received six yellow cards, McCulloch’s second arriving 16 minutes from time, and he was “OFF”. Oh my, it could only lift Sheffield yet again, and it really was all hands to the pump.
Let no man knock Heskey for defending, he was brilliant that day, and earned himself man of the match. Wigan had been under siege throughout the second half, and Keith Gillespie hit the bar, Stead mishit a clear chance from Chris Morgan’s flick, Webber failed to react to Stead’s low cross.
At last… It was all over. Wigan fans were ecstatic, and I`ve never been as happy in my life. Well maybe I have!! haha. But we had survived. Lady luck was with us this day.
On the down side a little girl in Red and white strips of Sheffield, was crying her little eyes out. Her Dad had his arm around her. I patted her on the head and said “Never mind, you`ll come back up next season. Sadly Sheffield didn`t manage it.
But I pay tribute to Sheffield fans. Though they must have felt so drained after the game, knowing their fate, they still managed to clap Wigan at the end of a hard fought battle, and one day I hope the blades will return to the Premiership. They certainly deserve too.
The previous week before this game, Paul Jewel said “I am scratching my head as to why we cant get points from these games”. The day after Wigan stayed up, Paul Jewel resigned as Wigan Manager.
It was one Hell of a Weekend.
Goals: Scharner (14) 0-1; Stead (38) 1-1; Unsworth (45 pen) 1-2.
Sheffield United (4-4-2): Kenny; Jagielka, Morgan, Kilgallon, Geary; Gillespie, Montgomery (Davis, 79), Tonge, S Quinn (Kazim-Richards, 56); Stead, Nade (Webber, h-t).
Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Leigertwood.
Wigan Athletic (4-5-1): Pollitt; Taylor (Unsworth, 42), Boyce, De Zeeuw (Skoko, 31), Baines; Valencia, Landzaat (Folan, 77), Scharner, Kilbane, McCulloch; Heskey.
Substitutes not used: Filan (gk), Camara.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Sheffield United – Geary, Nade, Jagielka;
Wigan Athletic – Unsworth, McCulloch, Scharner, Valencia, Folan.
Sent off: Wigan McCulloch (74).
Man of the match: Emile Heskey.
Nice one Phil, I couldn`t go to the game, I was just too emotional and it is the only time I have ever given up on the Latics, I truly believed that we would lose and get relegated, shows what I know, when that whistle went I have never felt so much relief, fantastic game and memory.
Passed Articles – 2000 Memories:
Latics 3-0 Bristol Rovers – worbo here
Latics 3-1 Reading – Latixfan here
Latics 5-3 Blackburn – d_manga_fanatic here
The Latics Hit 2000 Points Milestone
Wigan Athletic achieved their 2000th point as a league club in the 1-1 draw with Fulham
You must have some fantastic memories of games that we have achieved points in over the years, and you must have a favourite that sticks out, either from the mists of time like that first win against Rochdale or something more recent like breaking our hoodoo against Chelsea, why not jot them down and send them in and Vital Latics will publish them under the heading 2000 Memories.
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