WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Victor Moses (C) of Wigan is congratulated on his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic at The Hawthorns on December 10, 2011 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Well I never, miracles apparently do happen, and lighting even strikes twice. The belief in the Wigan dressing room must be high after coming from behind to win 2-1 and even managing to hold on late on as West Bromwich threw everything they had at our back line.
The line up was predictable. Yet another first Martinez sticking with the line up that in the past four games has picked up seven points. The only change to the side that lost 4-0 to Arsenal was the return of Antolin Alcaraz.
It wasn’t the best of starts for Latics. West Brom started the brighter of the two sides and within the first five minutes Ali Al Habsi was already back at his best. Tipping the ball over the cross bar after a great long range effort from Christ Brunt; the resulting corner saw Jonas Olsson break free of his marker only to power his header wide.
Our defence looked very strong, Alcaraz slipping back into the side well. His pace allowing Gary and Figueroa to close players while he chases anyone who breaks away, well worked tactics. Never thought I would be saying that about that lot.
Gary Caldwell was looking like a new player. Many, including me have criticized him, in the past for being sloppy and weak at time. But today he looked much stronger, making tackles well and showing the kind of captain spirit that the team needs.
However it was Gary’s foul that got West Brom the lead. Steven Reid stepped up to take the resulting free-kick, delivering a blistering shot into Ali’s top corner, giving him no chance to save it. I have to say I thought it was going to be all over for Wigan.
Yet the players head’s didn’t drop.
Four minutes later, and after his 46th attempt of the season. Victor Moses bagged his first goal, curing a ball from the edge of the box into to the top corner leaving Ben Foster no chance. Wigan back into it and you can see what it meant to the players.
With our tails up, we got down to our football. Pinging the ball from left to right all though we couldn’t really force the issue on the West Brom defence. Yet they weren’t looking to get at us, and the game went in 1-1 at half time.
On came the second half, and it Wigan carried on where they left off from the first. Keeping control of the ball and not allowing West Brom to break through a very strong looking back line.
It was to be Victor Moses again who would provide the decisive incident of the second half. The winger again showing great skill got past Steven Reid in the box before being brought down. Penalty given, and up stepped Jordi Gomez, the Spaniard sending Ben Foster the wrong way slotting the ball home. Scoring his third goal in four games, he looks a new player.
But that would kick West Brom into action. Ali Al Habsi making up for his mistakes last week, making three great saves too keep West Brom out.
Wigan holding back in numbers, managing to stay compact and hold their position, something we haven’t seen enough of this season. Everyone working hard for each other and looking more and more like a team that want to play with and for each other.
It nearly ended in tears for Wigan. Ex-Latic player Paul Scharner creeping into the box, got on the end of a Jerome Thomas cross, only to everyone’s relief see the ball go high over the cross bar. And that was that, as we managed to hold on for our second away win of the season and our third in total.
Well the lads did it, managing to get a crucial three points. The next four games don’t come much harder two homes ties against Chelsea and Liverpool before away ties at Manchester United and Stoke City. So it was important today.
The players should gain belief; lots of players are coming into form at this important time of the season. That is more important than anything if we are to get out of the bottom end of the table. The signs are beginning to look good, and I hope that we can keep moving forward.
With the crowd behind us next weekend we could have Chelsea and get some more points on the board.