Latics grab deserved win
Sibierski fires Wigan to victory over Boro
By Robin Hackett. Last Updated: 15/08/07 11:12pm
Chris Hutchings scored his second league victory as a manager with Wigan's well-deserved 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at the JJB Stadium.
A second-half goal for Antoine Sibierski on his home debut - and his second in two appearances - was enough to provide all three points for Hutchings, who won just one league game during his previous spell as a manager with Bradford City.
Wigan dominated large periods of the game and, while they lacked a cutting-edge in the final third, Sibierski proved - as he frequently did last season - that he can provide the finishing touch when needed.
Gareth Southgate has much work to do if he is to get his side on track for the new season and they will be hoping that Mido, who was looking on from the stands, can make a difference if he completes his move from Tottenham.
In the eighth minute the visitors cut Wigan apart with a delightful move down the right when Jeremie Aliadiere released Tuncay Sanli with a perfectly-weighted flick.
Tuncay advanced forward at pace and whipped in a vicious low cross to the near post which forced Paul Scharner to clear for a corner.
But it was Wigan, with Sibierski beginning to dovetail effectively with Emile Heskey, who asked the more searching questions.
Heskey met a deep free-kick from Titus Bramble in the 21st minute, and his excellent header gave Denny Landzaat a shooting opportunity from 14 yards.
The Latics midfielder took a touch before striking a right-foot volley just wide of Mark Schwarzer's left-hand post.
Boro almost engineered their own downfall shortly before the half-hour when a dreadful pass from Julio Arca went straight to the feet of Landzaat, who swiftly advanced before dragging a low shot wide of the far post.
Barely a minute later, Arca displayed his creative qualities with a delicate through ball to Stewart Downing in Wigan's six-yard box.
The England winger struck a low shot goalwards, but Mario Melchiot produced a brilliant block to stop a certain goal.
Five minutes later Koumas orchestrated another sweeping move which saw him feed Antonio Valencia down the right.
His low cross across the face of goal was greeted by Heskey's side-footed effort - but Boro defender Chris Riggott did just enough to divert the ball to safety.
Wigan's momentum continued to build after the break, and it came as no surprise to anyone when Sibierski made the breakthrough in the 55th minute.
After Schwarzer failed to hold Valencia's diagonal low shot from the right, the Frenchman edged ahead of Andrew Davies to stab the ball home.
Boro's response was impressive, Downing firing narrowly wide two minutes later and then striking the post with a low shot in the 63rd minute.
But Wigan dominated as the half wore on and should have added to their tally. A stream of half-chances were spurned, with Heskey firing wide from 20 yards in injury-time.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Statistics||Middlesbrough|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||1|
|14||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|