Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Wigan's woes worsen

Matt Jarvis opened the scoring for West Ham

The chances of another famous Wigan escape act took a severe blow as they were beaten 2-0 at West Ham.

Fresh from their midweek draw with Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United, the hosts scored once in either half to leave Wigan in the relegation zone and put another dent in the FA Cup finalist's survival bid.

A first Upton Park goal for Matt Jarvis and a Kevin Nolan volley secured the win which moved Sam Allardyce's side into the top 10, although they were second best for much of the second half with the Latics unable to make their dominance pay.

Wigan started brightly and were the first side to create an opening as Antolin Alcaraz - who was replaced after 15 minutes due to injury - fired a low shot straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Hammers skipper Nolan had found the net just once since the turn of the year, but he had two half chances to open the scoring. Firstly he could not rise high enough to make meaningful contact with a Gary O'Neil corner before latching onto a free-kick and seeing his volley pushed clear by Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles.

Dead ball specialist Shaun Maloney put a 22-yard free-kick just over Jaaskelainen's bar with both sides still in search of the opening goal. It came just four minutes later when Jarvis' cross from the left flank evaded both Mohamed Diame and Nolan before sneaking inside Robles' far post.

West Ham then had strong claims for a penalty following an exchange of passes between Ricardo Vaz Te and Nolan, with James McCarthy appearing to trip Nolan as he prepared to shoot. The visitors came out attacking after the break with both Jordi Gomez and Arouna Kone having strikes at Jaaskelainen's goal within two minutes of the re-start.

Diame saw a dipping effort gathered by Robles just before the hour-mark before Joe Cole made his return from a hamstring injury, replacing Vaz Te on the wing. Wigan finally created a decent opportunity as Maynor Figueroa lofted a ball over the West Ham defence and Emmerson Boyce's diving header was kept out by Jaaskelainen.

That effort seemed to galvanise Roberto Martinez's side and they dominated for the next 15 minutes, culminating with substitute James McArthur forcing a smart save out of the Finnish goalkeeper with 20 minutes remaining. Paul Scharner then headed straight at Jaaskelainen when free inside the area with the home fans starting to show their tension.

But those worries were put to bed with a little over 10 minutes remaining as Nolan latched on to Andy Carroll's pass to volley West Ham into a two-goal lead and score his seventh goal of the season. Carroll should have added a third himself after bursting into the area but he put his shot wide.

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