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Wigan Athletic 1-1 West Brom (Wigan Fan's Perspective)

Monday 19th March 2012
It was another disappointing result at home, this time it was West Brom who somehow left the DW with a point. Wigan, who were without injured Hugo Rodallega, created enough chances to win 3 top flight matches, were left cursing their luck in front of goal once more after spurning a whole host of chances to put the game well beyond the Baggies.

No fewer than 20 efforts at goal and 13 corners, the stats speak for themselves. It's the story of Wigan's season as a whole. Just one home win and no fewer than SEVEN home draws are preventing the club from climbing up the table. Of those seven draws I reckon around five of those ought to have resulted in a home win by the volume of chances created alone, and West Brom was the latest in the list of disappointments.

If I started to rhyme off each and every chance then this report would be rather lengthy. For the second game running Wigan found an opposing goalkeeper in inspired form, with Ben Foster pulling off a string of fine saves to keep the home side at bay. The longer the game went on, the more you felt like it was going to be another one of those days, with possibly the visitors stealing the points on the break.

However, West Brom were toothless in attack themselves and lone striker Shane Long didn't trouble the Wigan back line all day. The only time Roy Hodgson's men looked like scoring was after they went behind. It was James McArthur who finally broke the deadlock, the Scottish midfielder scoring his third goal in his last seven outings after his recent goals at Spurs and Bolton.

Victor Moses was the supply line. His initial cross looped up into the air off a West Brom defender but he was awake to the second ball and squeezed his way brilliantly into the box to play a ball across the face off goal. As the ball was only partly cleared, McArthur stuck out a boot and drop the ball into the net from 3 yards for what was the scrappiest of openers. The strong home support didn't care how it came. After a pitiful 11 goals in the previous 14 home games you'd take one flying in off the referee's backside, frankly!!

Needless to say that within seconds of going in front Wigan looked nervous and, for the first time in the game, West Brom looked likely to score. It took just 11 minutes before they levelled and it was former player Paul Scharner that spoiled the party when he headed home from a corner. It has to be said that as well as Wigan are defending in ordinary open play right now it was dreadful defending that allowed Scharner to drift in unmarked to levels the scores.

Franco Di Santo was marking the space that Scharner ran into, but he moved too far forward otherwise he would have been able to head clear. Antolin Alcaraz appeared to be responsible for marking Scharner but the Paraguay international never moved from the spot of grass on which he was standing.

The visitors ought to have been reduced to ten men when Youssuf Mulumbu was fouled by James McArthur. There's no question it was a free kick, but Mulumbu's reaction was poor to say the least. He jumped to his feet and ran to confront McArthur, twice raising his arms at the player in the process. You just can't do that and to say it was needless is putting it mildly. McArthur had hardly gone in two-footed on the Congolese playmaker, he merely knocked him to the floor in trying to win the ball. How referee Michael Oliver deemed it a bookable offence is anyone's guess. Mulumbu got away with one there.

The best late chance went the way of substitute Momo Diame. It was an identical chance to the one which he put just over the bar late on at Norwich a week earlier, however this time his effort was heading wide before hitting Franco Di Santo in the stomach and being cleared.

There was a real sense of disappointment and missed opportunity at the full time whistle. Even though the draw moved the club off the bottom (after Wolves were thumped by Manchester United the following day) there were three points there for the taking and again they weren't taken.

People talk of winnable games ahead and the need for three points in those games. Those games are running out and to see Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal listed in the next five fixtures, three points against West Brom (and the previous week at Norwich) would really have made a massive difference and taken a little pressure off and the bid to beat the drop.

Personally I not feel that of the remaining nine fixtures, just five are what you would call "winnable". In my view there's a real need to win all five of those fixtures, unless the club can do the unthinkable and finally beat their Manchester United voodoo next month! It's a tall order and it's far from over.

I'm the most optimistic of fans, I never doubted our survival chances at all last season and that proved to be right. But this season I think we're right up against it. The one thing in our favour is that, like last season, more or less everyone is fighting fit, playing well and looking up for the fight. The difference this season though is we don't have a match winner such as in previous seasons with the likes of Valencia and N'Zogbia having moved on to pastures new.

I believe Wolves are in total turmoil at the moment and they've picked the wrong time for that to be the case, they will be relegated. Mark Hughes has hardly inspired QPR on to improvement and their fixture list is the most daunting of all the teams down there, so they too will fall. Who will be the third is anyone's guess. We're not alone in our struggles and you can only hope that the other four sides down there with us pick up less points between now and 13th May, when Wolves come to town for what could be the ding-dong of all ding-dongs!

Wigan:  Al Habsi, Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa (Crusat 89), Beausejour, McArthur, McCarthy (Diame 79), Maloney (McManaman 79), Moses, Di Santo

Unused subs:  Kirkland, Stam, Watson, Gomez

Goals: McArthur 54

Starman: Shaun Maloney

West Brom:  Foster, Jones, McAuley, Ridgewell, Shorey, Morrison, Mulumbu (Andrews 79), Scharner, Brunt, Thomas (Dorrans 86), Long

Unused subs:  Daniels, Dawson, Tamas, Cox, Fortune

Goals:  Scharner 65

Starman: Ben Foster

Attendance: 21,379
Stuart Alker

Total articles: 31

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