Wigan 1-0 Pompey
Saturday 03-02-07, 3pm
Pompey travelled to the mist to face Wigan at the JJB this afternoon, facing a team on a run of eight straight defeats. As was inevitable their run ended, ours continued as we lost 1-0.
Injures ruled out Djimi Traore and Gary O'Neil while Matty Taylor dropped to the bench in an unusual team selection. Noe Pamarot returned in place of Traore with Rudolph Douala and Richard Hughes also getting starts.
Lee McCulloch's goal midway through the second half gave Wigan a much needed win and put another dent in our European hopes.
Wigan, struggling at the bottom in free fall, Pompey in the top six albeit stuttering along but the early indications were not a sign of this as Wigan created three good chances in the opening ten minutes. The first well saved by David James to deny Caleb Folan's header, Lee McCulloch then shooting wide from range before a second Folan header was claimed by James.
The first Pompey effort would come from Kanu shortly before the twenty minute mark, but his effort from the edge of the area was safely claimed by Chris Kirkland, this coming after Folan had again had an attempt saved by James. Kanu's effort however was soon followed by Rudolph Douala, making his first Premiership start, from a similar distance but with a similar result.
David Unsworth, coming up against Pompey for what is probably the first time since he was allowed to go tried his luck from within the area after a McCulloch effort had been well blocked by Sol Campbell, but this caused no problems for James.
The final chance of the half came from Pompey, again falling to Douala. After looking impressive in recent substitute appearances he earned his start he tried to mark it with his first goal but again his effort could only be directed straight at Kirkland with others better placed.
Another forty five minutes of Premiership football had passed without a goal, the fifth in a row. You couldn't help but feel at least one would be needed in the next for even a point to be gained?
Nothing was changed at half time; five minutes into the second then Harry Redknapp did alter things. Lomana LuaLua came on to replace Lauren giving the Pompey side a very attacking look to it, would this change anything though…
The answer was looking like being no. Nothing was being created with a good fifteen minutes going by before the second half's first real effort, this a 20-yard effort from Julius Aghahowa straight at James though.
Midway through the second half as confusion reigned as seemed inevitable Wigan took the lead. Confusion between Campbell and Noe Pamarot eventually saw a ball find McCulloch who shot past James and into the goal much to the delight and relief of the home fans.
If one goal was wanted at half time at least one was needed now! But could and would it come? A man who you would hope could deliver it Andrew Cole soon arrived in place of Kanu. With the final change not long in coming after. This time Matty Taylor came on for Noe Pamarot.
But for some desperate defending by Sol Campbell it could have been two with a little over fifteen minutes to play. First of all he blocked Ryan Taylor's shot then blocked the follow up from McCulloch. A second would have killed the game, as it was it was looking like one would be enough anyway… and so it was.
I had been confident since Boro on Tuesday we would win this match, but maybe this was more optimism than expectation as their was a certain air on inevitability about this happening.
We didn't really get going as has been the case in recent matches, something has got to change as our European hopes have taken a battering with defeat against a side we couldn't afford to lose to, a point wouldn't have been overly bad, defeat was…
I'm not giving up on the dream yet but it seems that each match recently has left me, if not all of us saying we have to win the next. Three points at Fratton against Man City next time out are no two ways about it, no must win next game - a MUST!!! Anything but victory over City and European hopes are rapidly fading.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Wigan 1 - Lee McCulloch 67
Lauren (Lomana LuaLua 52
Noe Pamarot (Matty Taylor 74)
Kanu (Andrew Cole 71)
Substitutes Not Used