Belfast Telegraph

Watson strike hands Wigan win

Tottenham fans vented their anger at Andre Villas-Boas as their side slumped to a shock defeat against strugglers Wigan at White Hart Lane.

Spurs had come in to Saturday's game having won five of their last six Barclays Premier League matches, but they were desperately poor. The Londoners were lucky that Ben Watson's strike was the only one they conceded after they put in a dire display.

The Latics had gone six Barclays Premier League games without a victory before their 2-1 win against the Hammers last weekend, but Roberto Martinez's men passed with finesse and purpose while Arouna Kone was a constant menace for the away side.

It could have all been so different had Clint Dempsey taken an early chance after a mistake by Watson. The former Crystal Palace midfielder misplaced a simple pass, and Dempsey sneaked in behind the Wigan defence only to shoot into the side netting.

The American then hit a crisp shot just wide of Ali Al-Habsi's goal, but Wigan soon began to take a grip on the game. Al-Habsi was only called into action once in the first half when Jan Vertonghen acrobatically volleyed towards goal, but the Oman goalkeeper dived to his left to save.

Shaun Maloney and Kone combined well on the edge of the box, giving the Ivory Coast man some space but Friedel saved well to deny Wigan an opener. Villas-Boas was then forced into an early change when Sandro hobbled off with a muscle injury as Gylfi Sigurdsson came on in his place.

Wigan continued to dominate as Kone slipped Maloney into the box to leave the Scot through on goal, but he fired straight at Friedel leading up to the break. Following the restart, Dempsey was booked for childishly blocking a Wigan free-kick from one yard.

The home side's afternoon went from bad to worse in the 56th minute when Friedel could only parry Maloney's corner at the feet of Watson, who drove at goal from close range. Friedel blocked the shot, but the ball had already crossed the line and the referee's assistant rightly awarded the goal.

The goal briefly brought Spurs to life, as Bale whipped a curling shot at the Wigan stopper which he held well, and James McCarthy blocked Dempsey's flick on the line, while only a crucial block from William Gallas prevented Jordi Gomez from making it 2-0 after some good work by Kone as Wigan threatened to kill the game off.

Maynor Figueroa then blasted a free-kick inches wide with six minutes to go as Wigan held on comfortably to claim a shock win.

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