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Match Report: Wigan Athletic 2-2 Southampton

Lack of power, and determination have lead me to a late report about the game on Saturday. Much like Wigan my performance is poor, yet unlike Wigan, I haven't managed to scrape out a result. They on the other hand managed to get a point after a dire 90 minutes.

Alex Livesey

The starting line up was as we all hoped. Roger Espionza started, alongside debutant Paul Scharner who for me was the man of the match. The spirits before the game, where high from the Latics fans, as we hoped to win three points and climb out of the relegation zone. That plan wouldn't go well over the full length of the game.

In the opening stages of the match, Southampton looked the sharper and the more keen to win the game. Not to say Wigan weren't, let the south coast club were closing us quickly and looking to put us under pressure. What we should then have done is worked the ball wide and hit them on the wings.

The problem was the fact that we tried to go down just the on wing. Ronnie Stam was continually in acres of space down the right hand side in the first half. Yet none looked to switch it, instead we forced the ball down the left handside, making our play easy to predict for Southampton.

Predictable is something Latics can't afford to be that if we want to survive in this league.

I said during the game, our best chance to score was going to come from a set piece, and I was right. That was just after Franco Di Santo had been denied at point blank range by Arthur Borc. The Polish international pulling after a spectacular save, as the striker got his head on the end of a Jean Beausejour cross.

It would be a Beausejour corner that would let us take the lead. The winger crossing into the middle of the box. Paul Scharner and Maynor Figueroa pulling to the front post, leaving Gary Caldwell free in the center of the box to head home and put Wigan 1-0 up. That was a good sign, playing poorly but winning, could we pick our game up?

The answer was no, and we were hanging on for dear life. Minutes before scoring, Rickie Lambert and relieved a corner and Gaston Ramierz was free in the box and should have scored before blazing over. Luckily for Wigan, that was their best chance of the first half. Our three center back in fantastic form as they blocked crosses, won tackles and cleared the ball. Someone had to do well for Latics today.

Second half you would hope for a change from Wigan. Up the tempo bring the home crowd into it and attack the opposition goal. Yet it was Southampton who plowed on in the same vein. Wigan were helpless to stop them from attacking, as none seemed to know what to do.

So Roberto Martinez sent on the reinforcements. Just it was the wrong man. We needed someone who would chase the ball, close players down and win it back for us. Not Jordi Gomez, who jogs everywhere and gets tackled. When you are 2-0 up and want to kill the game, or on top looking to score then you bring on Jordi. Not now, and not for Ronnie Stam.

That change would cause Wigan all sorts of problems as the players just lost their shape. Scharner now playing right back, in a back four which left us open more to the Southampton attacks with no big man to head clear. So with 65 minutes on the clock, the saints drew level.

Rickie Lambert getting in front of the Wigan defence to head home from a cross. Ali Al Habsi just beaten to the ball as it swerved into the box. All the hard work the defence had done, was undone by that one substitution as Lambert's marker was pushed out wide.

Instead of Wigan waking up, we withdrew inside ourselves even more, allowing Southampton to take the lead. Jay Roderiguez breaking down the right handside as Gomez lost the ball. The striker crossed the ball into the middle of the open Latics box as midfielder Schneiderlin swept the ball home. That is how Latics should play when at home not the opposition!

Five minutes to go and Wigan were 2-1 down, could we pull this back? Well a quite boost of attack and the home fans jeering their annoyance from a poor Latics display. And yet we managed to pull the goal back and get a 2-2 draw, we didn't deserve it. A corner from the Latics left hand side was delivered in and Paul Scharner made a towering header, pulling the ball down to the feet of a waiting Shaun Maloney who tapped it home to grab the last gasp point for the blues.

The worst we have played all season yet grab a point, is this going to be the turning point? Chelsea this weekend and we need to win this one.