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2012/13 Wigan Athletic Season Review: December to May

We left part one with Latics having won their final game of 2012, as we over came a struggling Aston Villa 3-0 to build hope for the rest of our season as players came back from injuries.

Shaun Botterill


Title chasing Manchester United were our first challenge of January and we tripped up at the first hurdle as they eventually swept past us 4-0, yet there were still shoots of hope appearing as for large parts of the game we matched the stride fro stride.

Four days later though, and we had the first FA Cup game of the season with a home tie against Bournemouth. A late on Jordi Gomez penalty save dour blushes as we pulled the game back to 1-1 to take it to a replay. Before that game though, we had a trip to London to face Fulham were the Latics were unlucky not to win against their bogey side. Instead we came to a 1-1 draw, yet it was the fate of Ivan Ramis which was more concerning. The defender turning awkwardly and ruling himself out for the remainder of the season with damage to his knee ligaments.

Good news followed in mid-week though, as Latics managed a 1-0 win against Bournemouth thanks to a lovely Mauro Boselli strike. The start of the run to the final was on.

But unaware of all that a depleted Latics side faced Sunderland at home and after taking the lead we lost the game 3-2 after three quick first first half goals from Sunderland. Our lack of finishing ability shining through. As was shown in our next two following games we we managed to scrape a 1-0 win against Macclesfield Town in the FA Cup. Followed by scraping a 2-2 draw away against Stoke City.


The start of the month saw us take on another struggling side with a must win status to keep us floating. Taking the lead early on we looked good for our lead, then a second half double from Southampton looked to have seen us drop points, a late Shaun Maloney goal getting us back on level terms.

The midfield was hitting top gear and managed to get a goal away at Chelsea which at the time looked like it could help us to pick up a result. However Chelsea bounced back to romp to a 4-1 victory over us.

Two more away games left in the month, and both were wins, and in both Arouna Kone stuck doubles. The Ivorian striker making his return from the African Cup of Nations known as he helped us to a 4-1 win over Huddersfield in the FA cup to send us into the FA Cup Quarter Finals, while a 3-0 win over Reading looked to help us climb out of the relegation zone.


So hope was restored, that was until our first game on March. We faced Liverpool at the DW Stadium and we were swept aside in a Luis Suarez inspired team. Yet the lack of mobility of a struggling Gray Caldwell did not help the Latics cause as we lost 4-0.

It was then our turn to face the blue half of Mersyside in the the FA Cup. They all expected to win, yet in the club's best performance of the season and in a frantic five minutes spell, we hit three goals to fly into an FA Cup Semi-Final. The man of the moment Callum McManaman would become our late season hero.

Maca was then given the chance to prove his FA Cup form in the Premier League and he grabbed the chance as we grew from game to game. A nasty incident with Newcastle United's Massadio Haidara marred his excellent performance in the 2-1 win over Newcastle United. He then followed it up with an equally impressive game against Norwich City as we yet again won.


Three back to back wins and we now believed we could stay up. With QPR in our sights a win here could relegate them, and lift us higher up our of the relegation dogfight. Ever after QPR went down to 10-men Wigan could not break their down down, and when Loic Remy scored late on you wondered if the fate was written in the skies. But once again it was Shaun Maloney to prove us all wrong with a dipping and swerving free-kick as Latics took a point.

Then came the big day, the Semi-Final of the FA Cup. None could have ever seen us marching out on such a stage and yet we did with a dominating 2-0 win as we set up our first ever FA Cup Final and the chance of silverware.

Yet it was the Premier League which then brought us crashing back down to earth. Two defeats away from home at the hands of Manchester City and West Ham United both of which we deserved more from as we tore them apart but couldn't score.

Then our last game of April saw us take on Champions League chasing Tottenham Hotspur After going behind early on, we took a 2-0 lead and held it till the last few minutes of the game, where a cruel deflection saw Tottenham nick a point.


Five games to decide our fate. Here our season would be made. We had to win three of our four league games, and then contend with Manchester City for the FA Cup.

First West Bromwich Albion away. we played poorly and looked half defeated in the first half. Going in 1-1 must have been a morale booster, which eventually spurred us on to win 3-2. First win achieved we marched onto face Swansea City at home with expectant fans.

A packed out stadium cheered on the Latics, and we took the lead just before half time. We deserved it and you felt that we could get our second win of the month. But yet again poor defending let us down as Swansea came from 2-1 down to win the game 3-2 and break Latics hearts. That you felt sealed our relegation.

So we marched to Wembley with optimism in our hearts. How much that was true. The game of the season for Latics as we dominated a poor Manchester City side. They had a few chance but a combination of defenders and keeper held them at bay, and in the dying minutes of the game we won it, as Ben Watson lept to head the ball home.

Morale was at an all time high as we headed into the must win game against Arsenal. Thanks to the rest of the weekends fixtures we had to win to survive. It was not to be as we struggled with fatigue and the exhaustion of a long season. We managed to get a goal and coming out at the start of the second half we even looked like we might get our noses in front, but lapses of concentration at the back yet again cost us, and this time there was no bouncing back.

That meant it was nothing to play for against Aston Villa and you could tell as both sides played out a half hearted 2-2 draw which was a good one to watch for the neutral.


So our Premier League journey comes to the end.

Yet we will be back to fight another day!