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Match Report

 

Posted Wed 05 Jan 11 at 23:37 PM

Report: Wanderers 1 Wigan 1

Wanderers and Wigan played out a 1-1 draw for the second time this season in a game that came to life in the after half-time at the Reebok Stadium.

Following a tame first 45 minutes, Rodrigo pounced inside the penalty area to bag his first goal since moving to
England last summer.

It looked like the winger's clinical strike would prove enough to take all three points as
Bolton took control of the game after nudging themselves ahead.

But Dutchman Ronnie Stam grabbed an equaliser for the Latics after finding space at the far post to slot in from close-range.

Wanderers threw caution to the wind in the closing stages as they launched attack after attack on Wigan's goal.

However bad fortune in front of goal and some inspired goalkeeping from substitute Mike Pollitt ensured that the visitors returned to the DW Stadium with an undeserved share of the spoils.

Paul Robinson Wigan


Owen Coyle made one change to the Bolton starting line-up from the defeat at Liverpool with Paul Robinson regaining his place at left-back after serving a one-game suspension at Anfield.

Wigan, who were already without the services of the suspended Charles N'Zogbia, were dealt another blow after just ten minutes when on-loan winger Tom Cleverley was forced to limp from the field after sustaining an apparent hamstring injury. Mohamed Diame was the replacement in midfield.

The opening exchanges were played at a rather sedate pace with opportunities few and far between as both sides tried to play themselves into the game and feel each other out.

Rodrigo, making his first start at the Reebok, was looking particularly lively on the right side of midfield, while Matt Taylor on the opposite touchline was also his normal industrial self.

It was of no surprise to see the pair almost combine for Wanderers first opportunity of the game on 20 minutes. Taylor's free-kick - from a not too dissimilar position to which he supplied a cross for Kevin Davies at Anfield - was delivered towards Rodrigo at the far post, where Gary Caldwell got in front of the Spaniard to make a last-ditch headed clearance, with the ball flying just over his own crossbar.

Hugo Rodallega, who scored in the corresponding meeting at the DW Stadium in October, was spearheading the Wigan attack in a 4-5-1 formation. The Colombian international brought Jussi Jaaskelainen into the action for the first time just after the half hour mark when his fierce free-kick was parried to safety by the Finnish shot-stopper.

It was a 45 minutes full of plenty of endeavour but little quality. Indeed, a half chance for Kevin Davies shortly before the interval typified the nature of the first period as both he and Zat Knight climbed to meet Rodrigo's corner, with the confusion resulting in a mistimed and misjudged header by the captain from a promising position eight yards out.

Wanderers came out after the break and upped the ante straight from referee Phil Dowd's first whistle. Within a couple of minutes of the restart, Gary Cahill twice came within inches of nodding his team in front. Taylor was the supplier on both occasions as Cahill firstly glanced wide of the far post before making firmer contact to plant the ball just over the crossbar.

The encouraging start to the second-half got even better on 55 minutes when Rodrigo bagged his first goal in a Bolton shirt.

Mark Davies was the architect was a mazy run from midfield, ghosting past several attempted tackles. The former Wolves man played a perfectly weighted slide-rule ball to Rodrigo, who took one touch before finishing excellently past Kirkland.

It was to get even worse for the Wigan goalkeeper moments after conceding the opening goal of the game as he was forced from the field on a stretcher following a collision with Johan Elmander.

Rodrigo played a delicious through ball and as Kirkland raced from his goal to mop up the danger, he clashed with the Sweden international in a genuine 50-50 challenge on the edge of the area. Play was held up for several minutes while the England international received treatment before Bolton-born veteran Mike Pollitt was introduced as a replacement.

Wanderers were now well in control of the contest and the lead could have been doubled had Taylor got a better connection on Kevin Davies' precise clipped cross into the box and if Pollitt hadn't made an excellent block to stop Elmander registering his tenth goal of the campaign.

It took Wigan until the 70th minute before they could impose themselves on the second-half, with pacey runs from full-backs Steve Gohouri and Maynor Figueroa getting in behind Wanderers' defence from wide areas. But from threatening positions, the final ball on both occasions went astray.

That was until Gohouri again escaped again down the right, where he put the ball on a plate for Ronnie Stam to equalise with a close-range finish at the far post with 12 minutes remaining.

Martin Petrov was thrown by Owen Coyle with eight minutes left as Wanderers looked to re-establish their lead, and immediately after his introduction the Bulgarian delivered several dangerous crosses into the box, one of which just evaded Taylor who was preying at the far post.

It was all Bolton in the final stages as Fabrice Muamba had a long-range effort deflected wide and Kevin Davies was unlucky to see a close-range header sail just over the upright.

Because of the injury to Kirkland, eight minutes of stoppage time were signalled by the fourth official and for virtually all of that time the ball was spent deep in Wigan territory.

But Wanderers knew that it wasn't going to be their day when Pollitt made the save of the game to race from his line and again thwart Elmander, and when Muamba blazed over from inside the six-yard box.

Wanderers:
Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Rodrigo (Petrov 82), Mark Davies, Muamba, Taylor, Elmander, Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Bogdan, Alonso, Blake)

Wigan: Kirkland (Pollitt 57), Gohouri, Alcaraz, Gary Caldwell, Stam (, Thomas, Watson, Cleverley (Diame 7), McArthur, Rodallega, Figueroa (Subs not used: Gomez, Steven Caldwell, Diame, Lopez, McManaman, Robinson)

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