Stoke 0-1 Wigan

Stoke   0 - 1   Wigan

Hugo Rodallega

Rodallega celebrates after scoring Wigan's vital late goal

Hugo Rodallega's emphatic late header consigned Stoke to a third successive defeat as Wigan edged a fraught contest to retain their Premier League status.

With 12 minutes remaining of an excruciatingly tense encounter, Rodallega found the top corner from Charles N'Zogbia's far-post cross.

Stoke had earlier dominated, with Latics keeper Ali Al Habsi obliged to pull off a string of impressive saves.

But Wigan's second-half improvement secured safety for a seventh season.

On an afternoon of exhausting uncertainty, Wigan knew from the outset that victory would not guarantee survival, just as defeat would not necessarily consign them to the Championship.

But the visitors overcame a desperately nervous start before gradually edging their way to safety in the face of stern resistance from Stoke and an incessant wave of twists and turns elsewhere.

Martinez proud of Wigan achievement

When the dust finally settled, Wigan manager Roberto Martinez emerged drenched in champagne. After masterminding an unlikely climb to safety, he deserved the acclaim.

This was the first time in two years that the Spaniard had overseen back-to-back league wins, and it was not a bad time to do so.

As for Stoke, a third defeat in nine days may have ensured their campaign ended with something of a whimper but, however disappointing the denouement, it has been a season of outstanding progress for the Potters.

A first FA Cup final appearance in the club's 148-year history and a mid-table finish in a freakishly compact Premier League speaks volumes for the shrewd stewardship of manager Tony Pulis.

In the end, victory was a luxury rather than a necessity for Wigan. Defeats for Birmingham and Blackpool meant it was they who will be playing Championship football next season.

It was impossible to detect from Martinez's smiling countenance the inner tension he must have been feeling as he disembarked from the team coach, but the drawn features of the players who followed behind him told a different story.

As kick-off neared, Al Habsi prayed and his manager paced the touchline, his brow now contorted under the weight of the occasion; it was that kind of day.

Their apprehension looked justified when Antolin Alcaraz almost sold Al Habsi short with a weak back-pass within moments of the first whistle.

With Kenwyne Jones looming, the Wigan keeper rushed out to spare his skipper's blushes, a moment that proved the cue for a sustained barrage of Stoke pressure.

Predictably, Rory Delap's trademark long throws were a particular source of consternation for the visitors.

Pulis devastated after last-day defeat

Hearts were in Wigan mouths when Jones headed goalwards from one such missile, but Jonathan Walters, who was clearly offside, applied a needless touch from a couple of yards out and was correctly penalised.

The linesman's flag did nothing to deter the vociferous home support. "We're sending you down," they crowed. And as Al Habsi beat away efforts from Jones and Jermaine Pennant, and Emmerson Boyce hacked another Jones effort off the line, it looked like they just might.

By half-time, nothing had changed. With Blackpool and Birmingham level at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane respectively, and Wolves trailing 3-0 at home to Blackburn, Wigan were one of four teams on 40 points.

Yet they remained where they had been from the outset - second from bottom, albeit only on goal difference.

The grim scramble for survival soon began to assume a different complexion, however.

Wigan started the second half with the air of a team transformed. For the first time, an away goal looked possible. Some 130 miles to the south, Roman Pavlyuchenko put Spurs ahead against Birmingham. The visitors were up to 18th, behind Wolves only on goals scored.

Hope stirred among the blue-and-white pocket of away fans. N'Zogbia blasted over and Pennant appeared to impede Rodallega as he cut in from the left. Referee Andre Marriner ruled it was not a penalty.

Minutes later, Wigan survived a similar claim as Alcaraz climbed all over Jones. Unperturbed, Wigan pressed on. Conor Sammon, the hero against West Ham last weekend , forced a first save of the afternoon from Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic before being replaced by Tom Cleverley, who almost immediately did likewise.

Then, just after 1730 BST, came the news Wigan had been waiting for. Manchester United had gone 3-2 up against Blackpool at Old Trafford. If results stayed the same, Wigan were safe.

The jubilation of the travelling support turned to euphoria when Rodallega rose in the six-yard box to head home N'Zogbia's left-wing cross 13 minutes from time.

Visiting nerves grew increasingly taut as the allotted five minutes of added time stretched into six, but in the end there was to be no denying a Wigan side who looked dead and buried when two goals down at half-time a week ago.

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Stoke 0-1 Wigan FT
(HT 0-0)
    • Rodallega 78

    Stoke

    Substitutes

    Wigan

    Substitutes

    Ref: MarrinerAtt: 27,566
    STOKE
    WIGAN

    Possession

    • Stoke 59%
    • Wigan 41%

    Attempts on target

    • Stoke 5
    • Wigan 9

    Attempts off target

    • Stoke 6
    • Wigan 2

    Corners

    • Stoke 5
    • Wigan 3

    Fouls

    • Stoke 10
    • Wigan 9
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+6:15 The referee ends the match.
    • 90:00+4:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James McCarthy by Glenn Whelan. Ben Watson takes the free kick.
    • 90:00+3:00 Substitution Victor Moses is brought on as a substitute for Charles N'Zogbia.
    • 90:00+2:46 Centre by Rory Delap, save by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 88:01 The referee blows for offside against Franco Di Santo. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
    • 85:02 Substitution (Wigan) makes a substitution, with Franco Di Santo coming on for Hugo Rodallega.
    • 83:29 Strike comes in from Glenn Whelan from the free kick.
    • 83:29 Booking Emmerson Boyce is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
    • 83:20 Foul by Emmerson Boyce on Jermaine Pennant, free kick awarded.
    • 79:50 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Maynor Figueroa by Jermaine Pennant. Free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 77:53 The assist for the goal came from Charles N'Zogbia.
    • 77:53 GOAL - Hugo RodallegaStoke 0 - 1 Wigan Hugo Rodallega finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Stoke 0-1 Wigan.
    • 77:10 Substitution John Carew on for Kenwyne Jones.
    • 74:15 Jermaine Pennant delivers the ball, save made by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 73:39 Hugo Rodallega is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Direct free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
    • 73:01 Mohamed Diame takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.
    • 72:07 Maynor Figueroa takes a shot. Blocked by Danny Collins.
    • 71:04 Substitution Dean Whitehead comes on in place of Matthew Etherington.
    • 70:13 Glenn Whelan takes a shot. Save by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 68:01 Ben Watson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermaine Pennant. Direct free kick taken by Rory Delap.
    • 67:31 Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic.
    • Correction - 66:23 Direct free kick taken by Ryan Shawcross.
    • Correction - 66:23 Substitution Tom Cleverley on for Conor Sammon.
    • 66:23 Ryan Shawcross takes the direct free kick.
    • 66:23 Substitution Tom Cleverley on for Charles N'Zogbia.
    • 66:23 Booking Maynor Figueroa is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • Correction - 66:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matthew Etherington by Maynor Figueroa.
    • 66:12 Maynor Figueroa concedes a free kick for a foul on Matthew Etherington.
    • 65:53 Maynor Figueroa takes a shot. Blocked by Danny Collins.
    • 65:12 Hugo Rodallega takes a shot. Ryan Shawcross gets a block in.
    • 63:43 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ben Watson, Ben Watson takes a shot. Blocked by Charles N'Zogbia.
    • 62:30 Gary Caldwell restarts play with the free kick.
    • 62:30 Booking Matthew Etherington is given a yellow card.
    • 62:20 Matthew Etherington gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ben Watson.
    • 61:45 Charles N'Zogbia takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic.
    • 59:33 Inswinging corner taken by Ben Watson from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Kenwyne Jones.
    • 57:11 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Glenn Whelan by Charles N'Zogbia. Direct free kick taken by Marc Wilson.
    • 55:55 Header by Kenwyne Jones from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
    • 54:48 Direct free kick taken by Marc Wilson.
    • 54:48 Booking James McCarthy receives a yellow card.
    • 54:38 Foul by James McCarthy on Matthew Etherington, free kick awarded.
    • 53:22 Ryan Shawcross concedes a free kick for a foul on Gary Caldwell. Ali Al Habsi restarts play with the free kick.
    • 51:21 Kenwyne Jones gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James McCarthy. Gary Caldwell takes the direct free kick.
    • Correction - 50:39 Charles N'Zogbia has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the target.
    • 50:39 Shot from outside the area by Hugo Rodallega misses to the left of the goal.
    • 48:27 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James McCarthy by Rory Delap. Direct free kick taken by Gary Caldwell.
    • 45:19 The assistant referee flags for offside against Conor Sammon. Direct free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
    • 45:01 The second half has started.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:04 The ref blows to end the first period.
    • 41:31 Corner taken by Jermaine Pennant.
    • 40:59 Corner from the right by-line taken by Matthew Etherington, Antolin Alcaraz manages to make a clearance.
    • 39:27 Ben Watson decides to take the corner short.
    • 38:56 Foul by Glenn Whelan on Hugo Rodallega, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Ben Watson.
    • Correction - 37:51 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line, Ryan Shawcross takes a shot.
    • 37:51 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington, Ryan Shawcross takes a shot.
    • 36:24 Jermaine Pennant takes a shot. Save made by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 29:35 Glenn Whelan produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty area and misses left.
    • 28:26 Jermaine Pennant fouled by Mohamed Diame, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
    • 27:39 James McCarthy takes a shot. Ryan Shawcross gets a block in.
    • 26:56 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Maynor Figueroa by Jermaine Pennant. Direct free kick taken by Maynor Figueroa.
    • 25:35 Maynor Figueroa challenges Jermaine Pennant unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ryan Shawcross takes the direct free kick.
    • 24:43 Jonathan Walters concedes a free kick for a foul on Maynor Figueroa. Free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 24:20 Kenwyne Jones takes a shot. Save by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 21:06 Matthew Etherington crosses the ball, Close range header by Ryan Shawcross goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 21:06 Booking Antolin Alcaraz is given a yellow card.
    • 20:49 Antolin Alcaraz is penalised for a handball.
    • 20:24 Jonathan Walters takes a shot from just outside the penalty area which clears the crossbar.
    • 19:57 Glenn Whelan takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Caldwell.
    • 17:55 Ben Watson concedes a free kick for a foul on Jonathan Walters. Rory Delap takes the direct free kick.
    • Correction - 14:13 Kenwyne Jones takes a shot. Emmerson Boyce gets a block in.
    • 14:13 Kenwyne Jones takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Caldwell.
    • 11:53 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Matthew Etherington, save by Ali Al Habsi. Corner from the right by-line taken by Matthew Etherington, save by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 10:09 Kenwyne Jones is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 8:50 Mohamed Diame produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses right.
    • 7:24 Jonathan Walters is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Ali Al Habsi takes the direct free kick.
    • 6:33 Foul by Ben Watson on Jonathan Walters, free kick awarded. Glenn Whelan takes the direct free kick.
    • 4:20 Unfair challenge on James McCarthy by Glenn Whelan results in a free kick. Gary Caldwell takes the free kick.
    • 3:46 Matthew Etherington sends in a cross, save by Ali Al Habsi.
    • Correction - 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.
    • 0:00 The match begins.

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