It was not going to be an easy game, for either side. Villa were on a horrible run two games and 12 goals conceded, and we had not won a game in the last six. So getting off to a good start would be so so important. With the return of a full strength defence, the hope in the Wigan fans going into the game was high.
It was the returning defender in Ivan Ramis, who opened the scoring only three minutes into the game. A corner delivered in from the left by Jean Beasejour, was beautifully delivered into the middle begging for a header, and Ramis who was unmarked obliged to nod Wigan 1-0 up. You could see how much it meant to the players and it settled us.
The ball was ours, the confidence was ours, and you would not suspect us to be the away side. Jean Beausejour looked to have a new lease of life, his form had been dipping, yet as he found space he came into his own, cross after cross dispatched into the box.
Then there was a shout for a penalty. Shaun Maloney was whipped out by Stephen Ireland, yet the referee believed it was a fair challenge. Clear cut as they come, and Wigan’s form of baffling decisions looked set to continue today.
Wigan started to lower the tempo. We were not looking to go for the jugular just yet, and being able to control the ball and force Aston Villa into a mistake. Several times Arouna Kone could have broken through; both Franco Di Santo and Shaun Maloney setting the Ivorian away, yet heavy touches were letting the striker down.
Villa though started to come into the game. Christian Benteke was now starting to wake up, which was giving Villa a foothold in the game. The Belgian even managed to score a goal. A Brett Holman shot from the edge of the box, hit his own man in Andreas Weimann (who was offside) before Benteke placed the ball in the net. The referee chalked it off though.
We got to half time and it was still 1-0o to Wigan. We could have been out of sight had we taken advantage of our chances, and we were nearly punished by a 10 minutes spell by Villa where they controlled the game.
Yet with the first ten minutes of the second half, Wigan had the game tied up. Two goals in the space of five minutes saw Wigan pull out of sight.
The first a goal for the ever present Emmerson Boyce, who marked his return to the right wing-back position with another good performance and a goal to add. The right back picking the ball wide on the right hand side, played a one-two with Arouna Kone to let himself get free of the Villa players and head towards the box. Before placing a low hard right footed shot past Brad Guzan to double the Wigan lead.
Wigan weren’t done there. We got another minutes last. Franco Di Santo playing Arouna Kone through on goal beautifully, this time the striker’s touch was good and he managed to shrug his way through the Villa defence and through on goal. Guzan goes down to take the ball of the striker, round Kone goes and into the goal the ball goes!
Latics control the game, Villa looked destroyed. It was happening again for them. Could we get another? Three changes for Villa as experience swells the ranks and they put some fight back into their young team. Wigan though were just keeping the ball and killing the Villa tempo.
James McArthur came on to add to the midfield and give us some fresh legs as we slow down the tempo and look to hit Villa on the counter. Jordi Gomez also joined the side with ten minutes to go and managed to find Kone through on goal, the striker though was offside.
A fourth couldn’t be found, but our first clean sheet in 11 games is a massive boost to the side.