Wigan 2-0 Stoke: Daily Mirror match report
Published 21:30 01/04/12 By James Nursey
Wigan are finally showing the necessary grit to beat the drop but are still misfiring in
front of goal – as Jean Beausejour’s two howlers showed.
Boss Roberto Martinez was thrilled after Wigan’s first home win since August followed their heroics at Liverpool. They are now unbeaten in four games.
They were more than a match for Tony Pulis’ physical side, whose winger Matthew Etherington hobbled off injured after a crunching challenge.
But Wigan remain the lowest scorers in the Premier League with just 29 in 31 games – and Chilean winger Beausejour showed why.
In the first half the January signing from Birmingham somehow scuffed wide in front of an open goal from five yards with the game level.
And after Antolin Alcaraz headed the opener from Beausejour’s cross, the wideman missed another sitter from Ben Watson’s free-kick. Fortunately for Wigan, Victor Moses struck in the final minute.
With Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal next up for Martinez’s men they can ill-afford to be so profligate in future. But Martinez insisted he was happy with Beausejour providing the goals rather than scoring them.
He said: “It bounced a little bit awkwardly for him and he couldn’t adjust his feet. I can guarantee that after this game the same chances would be scored because the belief and the confidence is different and that’s something we’ve been missing before the last two games.
“The pleasing aspect is that he gets into great positions, he gives a great dimension and I thought he was brilliant in his positional play – the width he gave us.
“Scoring or not is something that isn’t his job but I enjoyed watching him getting into that last third and crossing and the first goal was a fantastic piece of play from him. He put in a world-class cross for the goal.”
Wigan stayed up the final day of last season after an unbeaten four game run-in and Martinez reckons his men are peaking at the right time once again to secure survival, despite remaining in the bottom three.
Asked why his side always leave it so late in the campaign, he replied: “If I could answer that question, I would not be a football manager, I would be a magician.
“The truth is we clicked in February.
“I did feel against Everton we performed really well and I thought the squad was ready in terms of the competition for players and the manner in which we could change things round and adapt to what was needed.
“We had a very slow start to the season. We started well enough and then we had a shocking period with eight defeats.
“Most of the teams would have capitulated and accepted defeat but it pleases me now that we are playing well, getting results and all we want is games to carry on our season as long as we can.”
Ryan Shawcross had Stoke’s best chance when Ali Al Habsi saved his header but the visitors were lacklustre.
Wigan deservedly won to move to 28 points, the same as QPR and Blackburn above them.
Latics midfielder James McCarthy said: “It is about time, to be honest.
“We have been through sticky patches – me included.
“I have not scored this season which is disappointing.
“But the main thing is Wigan and if I can do a job and we win, I will do that all day.
“We went to Anfield and got three points and if we keep sticking together as a group we will be fine.”