Latics unstuck by Toffees
Hosts start season with welcome victory
By Pete Allison. Last Updated: 11/08/07 6:53pm
Osman: Opened the scoring
Everton survived a late scare to bag a 2-1 win over Wigan, confining Chris Hutchings to a loss in his first game in charge.
Antoine Sibierski's 80th minute tap-in was not enough to spark a late comeback after Leon Osman had headed Everton into the lead mid-way through the first half.
The Toffees' advantage was doubled after superb work from the lively Andrew Johnson, whose cross was bundled into the net by the waiting Victor Anichebe in the 75th minute.
Everton were sharp from the start, with Mikel Arteta involved in all that was good about their forward play. One cross from the Spaniard was lofted over by Leon Osman, and he was a constant threat on the right.
Wigan new boy Koumas, used on the opposite flank, found space and time to also create problems.
Wigan's back line had appeared sound but they conceded a goal they will be far from pleased with in the 25th minute.
Osman took it very well, but Hutchings will be unimpressed by a defence that allowed a long cross to bounce, 18 yards out, and will look closely at Chris Kirkland's positioning.
Tony Hibbert's cross from the right arrowed in, but only Osman made an attempt to reach it. His looping header caught Kirkland a yard or two off his line and soared high before dropping just under the bar.
Then Arteta jinked his way into the box and past three men before going down under a Bramble challenge. Referee Mark Clattenburg was only a few yards away and decided the big defender had marginally touched the ball first before catching Arteta. A howling Goodison Park did not agree.
Wigan tried to hit back when Emile Heskey charged through and set up Caleb Folan for a shot which curled just over. Then Heskey fired a 25-yard shot inches wide, but Everton were good value for their half-time lead.
Everton's second almost came when Kirkland made a hash of a high Arteta free-kick. First he lost out in the air to Anichebe, and then he fumbled the dropping ball to allow Osman the chance of a close-range effort that was scrambled away.
Wigan sent on Sibierski for Folan on 66 minutes and, when the Frenchman won a header in the box, Denny Landzaat fired narrowly wide.
Everton sent on new boy Steven Pienaar on 74 minutes for Osman, and within 60 seconds their second goal arrived.
Johnson worked superbly on the left to get away from Andreas Granqvist before clipping a clever pass across the six-yard box for Anichebe to side-foot home, despite the attempts of Bramble on the line to keep it out.
But Wigan were not finished and on 80 minutes scored a well-constructed goal. Heskey's flick sent Scharner away on the right and his cross to the far post was swept into the roof of the net by Sibierski.
It needed a full-stretch save from Howard to keep out a Scharner shot from 25 yards but Everton saw out the final few minutes to claim a deserved victory.
|Everton||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|4||Shots off Target||10|
Barclays Premier League
|5||West Ham United||18||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||18||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||18||17|