Saturday, February 02, 2008

Wigan 1 West Ham 0

West Ham started with Ashton and Cole up front, Bellamy and Solano on the bench and no Boa Morte in the squad.

West Ham started reasonably brightly and within four minutes Ljungberg forced a save from Kirkland with an 18 yard shot. That action proved to be a false dawn as on an appalling pitch and in a scrappy game that was about it for goal mouth action for most of the first half. Wigan did manage a few shots that flew way off target but neither goalie was unduly troubled.

However in the dying seconds of the two minutes time added on Wigan were given a free kick 30 yards out. Taylor chipped the ball into the box where Kilbane unmarked met the ball with his head 6 yards to the left of the West Ham goal and about a yard in from the touchline. Somehow his header (probably an attempt to just knock the ball into the five yard box) looped over Green and into the back of the net to give Wigan the lead.

The second half was a more entertaining affair. In the 55th minute Brown managed to get into the box and squeezed a shot off from eight yards. Green saved the shot with his feet and West Ham immediately broke up field where Ashton won a corner. From the resulting corner Upson headed over.

In the 64th minute some interplay between Ashton and Cole led to a Cole shot from 11 yards from the right of the goal but the ball flew high and wide. That was the end of the action for Cole as Bellamy came on to replace him.

In the 75th minute Bellamy had a chance to draw level when Ljungberg chested the ball down to him in the box but his shot from 5 yards flew left of the Wigan goal. Either side of Bellamy's effort Wigan had the chance to extend their lead. In the 71st minute Wigan had a corner, the ball was cleared out of the area to Valencia 30 yards out and his shot hit the left hand post and flew across the goal line and off the other post and then into Green's arms.

Late on in the 88th minute Bent had the best chance of the game when he was put clean through but with only Green to beat he put the ball over the bar.

In the end a combination of Wigan's greater desire and a mess of a pitch did enough to disrupt West Ham's game.

Next week apparently they are going to start playing rugby on this pitch. There should be some kind of penalty for team's who can't muster a playable pitch. I propose the castration of Wigan chairman Dave Whelan. That would seem a fair and just punishment.


At 8:20 PM, Blogger portugal said...

wigan are not a derby or fulham-they still have reason to believe they can survive ,so this was never going to be an automatic 3 or even one point ,despite wigan s position in the table. the business they did in the transfer window will if anything ,bolstered their confidence,so i didn t have a great feeling going into this one. nonetheless coming away from the JJB with not even a point is a big letdown after having beaten liverpool. finishing in the top 7 is achievable ,but it s certainly not going to be easy.we re going to need to cope with obstacles a bit better than we did today ,whether that includes bad pitches or anything else.

At 8:58 PM, Blogger portugal said...

sad thing is, that may be part of whelan s survival strategy .if he can t win fairly, just make the pitch unplayable,so that his club scrapes enough points at home to stay up, and keep earning big money from sky sports. there ought to be standards enforced by the league for pitch quality ,and significant fines for failing to adhere to those standards. doesn t make for a great spectacle for supporters either,especially at premiership price levels for tickets.


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