Emmerson Boyce of Wigan Athletic is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring his side's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers at DW Stadium.
Well its been a long long season, and it came down to two teams playing each other for no more than pride. And that was what we saw today, on the pitch that was. Now right from the off I would like to condone what happened today. If you haven't already seen the pictures, the fans burst onto the pitch at the end of the game, and it appears there may have been an incident of violence.
I do not at all agree with what happened, the fans that went on the pitch after being told not to; was wrong, very wrong. But what is done is done; I would now rather talk about what was a very good and honest game, and showed why Wolves don’t really deserve to be going down. But the table doesn’t lie after 38 games.
So it started off with a full packed out crowd in very good cheer. It was an amazing atmosphere and it makes you wonder why it hasn’t been full for all of the season. But even then it was a great atmosphere and the lads were all full of it and within the first five minutes we looked like we could run away with it.
But then just on the 8th minute as we were all up on our feet celebrating, cheering the lads on, they went and conceded. You can’t right that kind of stuff, but you knew it was going to happen. I have to say I didn’t personally see the goal, I only noticed when everyone else around me was dumbstruck. However I do know that it was a left foot curler from the edge of the box saw it whizz past a dumbstruck Ali Al Habsi. We had to applaud that for a goal. Yet Latics wouldn’t disappoint and would get back at Wolves ad quickly as their legs would carry them. Victor Moses leading the attack, even though it was one of his off days, his pace and trickery were working wonders just behind the lead striker of Franco di Santo. It was to be Di Santo who would score the equalizer.
After keeping Wolves penned back in their own half, James McArthur won the ball off Steve Hunt. McArthur layed the ball off to Di Santo who turned and stoked his ball passed and unsighted Dorus de Vries. Well the stadium went it raptures as we clawed the game back into Wigan control.
It wouldn’t be long till it was 2-1 to the Latics. The second goal coming from Emmerson Boyce, who would later go on to grab a spectacular third, his first goal was a bit more normal. Shaun Maloney floating around looking dangerous unleashed a shot that was pushed round the post for a corner. From the resulting corner by Jean Beausejour, the cross would find Boyce at the back post with plenty of space.
2-1 and you thought we might run away with it from there. But instead the game went a bit flat after a great first 20 minutes. Wolves were looking more likely to score, as they wanted to gain some pride and end on a high for their fans. And they kept coming at us, yet we didn’t budge and even Adrian Lopez who looked shaky was doing okay.
Playing the Martinez way, it was time to drop the tempo and play the passing game that we play so so well. And we did completely, killing off Wolves and the bite they had had. Now instead it was time to play the time game and slow it down till half time. Which we did rather well, yet it killed the atmosphere and the fans appetite for the game.
The second half and both teams started brightly looking to try and get the spoils on the game. Wolves were the fast to make a change, and it was to replace their goalkeeper. Carl Ikeme taking the place in goal, and he would have a busy afternoon as Wigan started to up their attacks.
Shaun Maloney was twice denied by the keeper, both from right angles where really it was up to the keeper to make the saves which he did well. While Victor Moses had the best chance of the early opportunities, where after a great pull back from Beasuejour the winger just had to slam the ball home, but missed the goal by quiet a margin.
Instead Moses was replaced by Albert Crusat who came on to liven the game up by opening up those gaps wide with his pace and vision on the ball. We have missed him coming on late on into games, he will be an important figure for the club next season.
While at the other end Wolves were getting closer to the game. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake would come close with a looping header that would just inch over Ali’s goal. Why our Omanian keeper would have to be at his best to deny a back post header, after yet more great wing play by Mat Jarvis.
Then the departing hero would come on. You only had to tell by his body language that Hugo Rodallega is on his way out. The players knew it and he knew it. His first act of the game was to brilliantly bring down a long ball by Gary Caldwell for Emmerson Boyce to volley home from the edge of the box for his second. What a goal!
From there on Wigan went on the attack and three times did we have the numbers over Wolves. Each time the players tried to play the ball into Hugo who was so desperate to score, each time he was denied by Wolves. The first Boyce’s pass was intercepted inches from Rodallega’s foot; the next chances came courtesy of Maloney. The scot had drilled the ball across the goal and all Hugo had to do was tap the ball in, bar some last ditch defending from Christopher Berra. It wasn’t going to happen for our Colombian striker.
Wolves would then get a goal back thanks to some sloppy defending by Andrian Lopez. The Spanish defender would fail to clear the ball and instead pass it to the feet of David Edwards, whose shot was well saved by the feet of Al Habsi. But the rebound would fall to Fletcher to score. It didn’t affect the score but it did the Wigan pride.
We nearly did restore our two goal lead with only minutes left. Rodallega put through one on one thanks to a great pass over the top from Maynor Figeruoa. The striker would do everything right lifting the ball away from the defender and over the keeper. Only for it to hit the post, you could see how much it meant to him as he crumbled to the floor.
Well that’s it, done, finished, all over. What a season and a great way to finish it with goals, passion and most of all football.
Well done to the players who have put in a great shift yet again, as we the fans are looking forward to yet another great season next year.
Blue and White army!