Heskey steals win for Wigan
Pompey hit the bar four times as Latics claim the points
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 01/11/08 9:15pm
Latics celebrate Heskey's winner
Emile Heskey fired home in stoppage time to bag his 100th goal and nick a 2-1 away win for Wigan as Portsmouth were left to rue their missed chances.
Despite the home side looking the more positive in the opening half it was Wigan who took the lead from an Amr Zaki spotkick. Titus Bramble was fouled by Papa Bouba Diop giving the ref no option but to award a penalty. The Egyptian fired straight down the middle of David James' goal.
With new boss Tony Adams wondering how Portsmouth were not level, his prayers were answered when the ball fell to substitute Niko Kranjcar who drove the ball past Chris Kirkland.
With plenty of chances from both sides, Heskey broke Pompey hearts when he latched onto Lee Cattermole's through ball and slid the ball past James.
Wigan were first into their stride, forcing Pompey to defend a Jason Koumas free-kick before Cattermole's fine cross from the right was headed inches wide by the lively Zaki after only two minutes with James struggling to get across his goal.
James had to come to Pompey's rescue when Bramble, following up an attack, drilled in a fierce drive which the keeper saved at the second attempt.
Defoe's presence panicked Emmerson Boyce into conceding a needless corner but Wigan easily cleared and when Johnson had Pompey's first shot after 13 minutes it was a tame effort straight into Kirkland's midriff.
Pompey were close to the lead three minutes later when Crouch's header from a Lassana Diarra corner landed on top of the bar, bounced back into play and Diop hooked it over.
They were gradually gaining control and went close again in the 22nd minute when Johnson, cutting inside from Diop's pass, played a perfect through ball in behind Bramble.
Defoe found the angle just too tight for his shot which zipped wide of Kirkland's left-hand post.
Diop's header looked a winner until Wilson Palacios, on the line, headed it up against the bar and out.
But big former Fulham midfielder paid the price for recklessness again when he sent Bramble sprawling and Zaki made no mistake just ahead of the half-time whistle.
Kranjcar, back from an ankle operation, almost equalised soon after coming on at the start of the second half when his free-kick was cleared off the line by Boyce.
Johnson's superb header came back off the bar and when Crouch, who had earlier glanced a header just wide, followed up Palacios repeated his amazing trick of deflecting the ball against the woodwork and away.
After a whole host of near misses Kranjcar appeared to have saved a point for new boss Adams with an 82nd-minute strike.It looked a point apiece but then Pompey lost all their discipline at the back in the closing minutes and Antonio Valencia was twice foiled by James when clean through on the break before Heskey settled it.
|Portsmouth||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||6|
|10||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||35||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||35||40|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||35||27|