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Late blow at JJB

Posted on 11 January 2009  - 12:00

For once, Jermain Defoe did not mark a debut with a goal and it was Wigan who snatched a stoppage time winner at the JJB Stadium on Sunday.

Late blow at JJB

For once, Jermain Defoe did not mark a debut with a goal and it was Wigan who snatched a stoppage time winner at the JJB Stadium on Sunday.

It was a game where chances were at an absolute premium and the reflexes of the goalkeepers were not unduly tested. It looked all set for a point apiece until a Ryan Taylor corner was met by the unmarked Maynor Figueroa, who made no mistake with his header.

Defoe - chasing a fifth debut goal - was named in the starting line-up for his second debut for the Club, alongside Roman Pavlyuchenko in what will hopefully become a profitable pairing up top. Jamie O'Hara was rewarded for his efforts that turned the tide against Burnley on Tuesday, while there were places for the central defensive trio of Michael Dawson, Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate.

Welcomed back into the fold on the bench were Jermaine Jenas, Tom Huddlestone and Darren Bent after injury.

There was a flurry of activity inside the opening minute when a Gareth Bale corner was nodded goalwards by King, and not grabbed hold of properly by Chris Kirkland - Dawson plunged himself towards the momentarily loose ball and was rewarded with another corner, the goalkeeper doing a better job second time around.

King was playing as a shield in front of a back four when we were not in possession, calling the shots and generally organising. At the other end, Jamie O'Hara squirted the ball just wide from a quick-thinking free-kick from Luka Modric.

Didier Zokora surrendering possession to Wilson Palacious nearly undid that promising beginning but, just as Amr Zaki was about to pull the trigger, Dawson skidded across the surface with a perfectly timed blocking tackle.

Dawson then worked Kirkland with a powerful header from an O'Hara centre before Ryan Taylor was not too far away with an arrowing free-kick awarded for a 50-50 coming together between Vedran Corluka and Zaki. Another Taylor set piece was glanced across the face of goal by Zaki as the momentum was swinging towards the home side.

The lead could well have been snared 38 minutes in when a run and raking cross from Zaki clipped the head of Woodgate and fell kindly for Emile Heskey at the far post. The England man made a quick and firm connection and it took the stomach of Heurelho Gomes to divert to safety.

The second half half started in much the same fashion as the first ended and Harry Redknapp responded with the introduction of Darren Bent in place of Pavlyuchenko.

Both Gomes, who seemed to picked up a groin injury while sprinting out of goal to clear, and Dawson, recipient of a boot in the head from Zaki, shrugged off their respective injuries and it was Modric who left the pitch to make way for Lennon a few minutes before the hour mark.

The result of this was the reversion to a traditional 4-4-2 and Bent was unlucky not to have made more capital from a deep Bale cross - the left-back moments later being the victim of an elbow to the face from Valencia, who was duly carded.

Dawson soon suffered another knock to the head and this time, looking groggy, he was replaced by Jenas with about 10 minutes left.

The game was scrappy and as we neared the end it was simply a case of seeing if either side could nick a winner and it was Wigan who did that in stoppage time when Figueroa powered his header into the net to seal the points for the home side.