Wigan 3-2 West Ham United FT

SUNDAY 15 MAY 2011




Final score - Wigan Athletic 3-2 West Ham United

96 mins - West Ham kick-off and referee Dean blows for full-time. West Ham are down to the Championship and Wigan live to fight another day. The final whistle sparks a pitch invasion from the home fans. Thankfully, a line of police and a line of stewards block their path to the away end. To be fair, it is a celebratory pitch invasion and the West Ham players are allowed to walk through the crowds to applaud the travelling hordes. Results also mean that West Ham will definitely finish bottom of the table as they are six points adrift with one game remaining.

95 mins - GOAL! Game over. Season over. 'Zogbia cuts inside from the right and slams a low shot in that eludes Green's grasp and flies low into the net. With only seconds remaining, that is surely the goal that seals West Ham's relegation.

94 mins - Chances galore at both ends as this has turned into a basketball-style end-to-end contest. Rodallega hits the side netting and both Hines and Cole are denied by last-ditch defending.

92 mins - Green catches a cross and immediately bowls the ball out. West Ham keep up the pressure and Hitzlsperger collects a pass from Hines before crossing. Cole is there but is challenged and somehow Wigan keep the ball out.

91 mins - Sammon this time. Green comes out and somehow saves with his legs on the edge of the box. West Ham break and Parker shoots from Ba's pull-back, but it's straight at Al Habsi.

91 mins - Just into the first of four added minutes and Wigan's fans are on their feet holding their heads as Watson beats Green but sees his shot come back off the inside of the post and into the goalkeeper's hands.

90 mins - 'Zogbia crosses and Green gathers the ball at the second attempt. Ba brings it forward but is challenged.

89 mins - Time is running out for the Hammers as Moses shoots. The ball flicks off a defender and behind for a corner. Watson delivers and Green gets a touch. The ball rolls away for another corner.

88 mins - Another chance, this time for West Ham. Keane controls on the edge of the box and lays the ball back for Hines. He shoots first-time, but he drags his effort well wide.

87 mins - Ba again, cutting inside Boyce and shooting. There is no power on the shot, though, and Al Habsi makes an easy save diving low to his right.

86 mins - Hitzlsperger's free-kick hits a head and flies behind, but the resulting corner is cleared.

85 mins - Wigan want a foul and probably a red card for Gabbidon, but he's made an inch-perfect challenge on Sammon. West Ham break in numbers and Cole is fouled 25 yards out. Hitzlsperger lines it up.

84 mins - Keane is on for Collison. The Irishman makes an immediate impression. First, Hines sees his shot blocked, then Keane is involved before Hines and Cole again are denied.

83 mins - That's a fantastic chance for Hines. A deep cross picks out the No26 at the far post and he sidefoots his volley straight at Al Habsi from eight yards.

82 mins - Spence does well defensively to slide in and concede a corner. Cole's first clearance flies behind for another corner. Green claims.

81 mins - This is so end-to-end it is not funny. Wigan come close again as Rodallega slams a shot into the side netting. West Ham break but Cole's cross is low and easily cleared.

79 mins - Ba's cross is cleared to Hines, whose shot deflects wide off a Wigan shin. Hitzlsperger's cross is cleared by Moses, but the ball drops to Collison. After a bit of interplay, the Welshman crosses, but it's too far in front of Ba and Al Habsi collects. Wigan break and Parker fouls Rodallega. Parker is booked.

78 mins - The ball drops to Hitzlsperger about 25 yards out but Caldwell makes a block with his head. The ball spins to Ba, who is offside.

77 mins - Bit of miscommunication there between Green and Tomkins and the centre-back concedes a needless corner. Cole heads clear, Hines is fouled by 'Zogbia, who is booked.

77 mins - He can't repeat the trick, curling his free-kick over the top and into the West Ham fans.

76 mins - 'Zogbia will fancy this one. Parker brings down Sammon about 25 or so yards from goal.

74 mins - Bridge picks out the run of Piquionne and he crosses low and Caldwell scrambles the ball behind. Hitzlsperger sends the delivery over and it drops to Tomkins beyond the far post. He lays the ball back for Parker, but the No8's shot is blocked. The ball spins out and Cole comes on for Piquionne.

72 mins - Parker volleys wide left for Hitzlsperger. The German tries to pick out the run of Ba, but the ball is safely chested back to Al Habsi.

71 mins - West Ham need to regain some composure and find a goal somehow. Carlton Cole will be on soon. Can he make himself a hero?

69 mins - You don't need me to tell you that, as things stand, West Ham will be relegated. Wigan's fans suddenly believe their team can stay up.

68 mins - GOAL! Hines holds on to the ball too long in midfield and loses out, leaving West Ham a bit exposed. Tomkins brings down Rodallega but referee Dean allows play to go on. Sammon cuts on to his right foot inside the box and tucks the ball past Green.

66 mins - Hitzlsperger plays the ball into Ba and it looks as if he is clean through on goal. Alcaraz gets back just in time and does enough to put the No21 off. He shoots, but his effort lacks the power and direction to beat Al Habsi.

66 mins - This is so tense it isn't even funny. A low cross from the right looks bound for Rodallega's boot, but Gabbidon steps in and confidently brings the ball clear.

62 mins - Hines is sandwiched by two Wigan players in the midfield. Hitzlsperger waits for Gabbidon and Tomkins to come forward, but his delivery is uncharacteristically poor. Wigan clear and counter, but the pass for Figueroa is too strong. Goal kick.

61 mins - Spector is hurt in a challenge in midfield and has to be replaced. On comes Scott Parker.

57 mins - GOAL! How did I know that was going to happen?! 'Zogbia himself steps up and slams an unstoppable free-kick into the top left-hand corner. Green had no chance whatsoever.

56 mins - I'm not sure that's a foul. Tomkins gets in front of 'Zogbia and the Frenchman goes to ground 25 yards from goal in a central position.

54 mins - Rodallega's shot is blocked and Gabbidon sweeps the ball clear to halfway. Piquionne does well against Alcaraz before Hines picks out Ba on the left in acres of space. He runs to the edge of the penalty area but his effort is neither a cross nor a shot and flies a few yards wide of the far post.

53 mins - The away fans are making all the noise inside the stadium. You have to love the passion they bring to every ground they visit. On the pitch, Wigan are controlling possession, but West Ham's players are working hard, charging down passes and thundering into tackles.

51 mins - West Ham have got to do the job here first, though. Figueroa gets in behind Spence and crosses from the Wigan left, but the ball is safely caught by Green in front of his face. About 40 seconds later, Watson shoots from 25 yards, but his curler does not threaten the target.

50 mins - News of the Fulham goal has clearly got through to the travelling fans, who are singing a chorus of 'We are staying up'.

48 mins - Fulham are 2-0 up at Birmingham. Brede Hangeland has bagged his second of the game.

47 mins - A shooting chance from the resulting throw-in for Hines, who cuts inside on his left foot and lets fly. The ball hits Collison on the back and spins out for a goal kick. Unlucky.

46 mins - West Ham get the second half underway. Just 50 seconds in and Spector bursts into the box and is in on goal until Caldwell makes a last-ditch sliding challenge to deny the American.

Wigan make two half-time  changes - Cleverley and McCarthy are replaced by Victor Moses and Conor Sammon.

Plenty of chit-chat at half-time as you might expect. Walking through the concourse to the Press Room and Wigan fans cannot believe that their team is losing. Behind the goal, the West Ham fans cheer as the Birmingham half-time score is read out over the PA system.

Half-time score - Wigan Athletic 0-2 West Ham United

Mike Dean brings the half to a close. Well done West Ham. That was tense out there but two clinical finishes by Ba settled them down and with Tomkins and Collison in fine form, the Hammers have a lifeline. Green was the star man, though, and that tells you that Wigan will come back strong in the second half.

47 mins - Piquionne nearly won a corner there after composed play by Bridge saw the ball move from defence to attack. Bubbles is all you can hear around the DW Stadium.

45 mins - We are into two minutes of added time. Cleverley has just run at Spence, cut inside and then shot over.

45 mins - West Ham playing keep-ball well as the half draws to a close. Wigan win the ball back, though, only for McCarthy to play a loose pass and the ball to run behind.

43 mins - Gabbidon heads back to Green after Wigan win possession deep in their own half and pump it forward.

41 mins - Diame surges forward after Gabbidon just misses a tackle in midfield. The No21 shoots high and wide and Green watches it sail over.

40 mins - Apparently Birmingham  have hit the post. The Hammers have taken a bit of the sting out of Wigan's play in the last 90 seconds. The Hammers owe Green big time.

39 mins - This is tense. First, Diame's shot is well saved by Green before Tomkins heads behind. Finally, Green does brilliantly after all that to save from Rodallega from point-blank range.

37 mins - Last-ditch defending again from West Ham. At Fulham, Zamora has hit the post. They still lead Birmingham 1-0.

35 mins - Bridge concedes a corner. 'Zogbia takes it and the ball fizzes across goal before Gabbidon knocks it behind. I don't think he knew too much about that.

32 mins - Watson clears off the line from Piquionne. So close to a third.

30 mins - Wigan pressure comes to nothing. First 'Zogbia fires a free-kick over high and wide and then the home side waste a corner. Before all that, Collison threw his body in the way to deny a shot. Great stuff.

26 mins - GOAL! - Ba again! Watson fouls Spector. From the free-kick, Hitzlsperger picks out Tomkins. The England Under-21 defender heads across goal and there is Ba to nod over the line. Cue hysteria behind the goal.

23 mins - Spence concedes a free-kick wide on the left. Cleverley whips it over and Gabbidon heads clear. Another cross comes over and Green punches before Piquionne heads away. Wigan are starting to look a real threat.

22 mins - West Ham create their own problems by presenting possession to Rodallega 25 yards out. He finds Diame, but Tomkins clears his cross. Wigan threaten again seconds later and Boyce crosses dangerously, but Tomkins rises to glance the ball clear.

21 mins - Spence is called into action by Figueroa. The Honduras man runs at the full-back, but he stands strong and forces the No31 to concede a goal kick. The Wigan fans want a foul, but referee Dean is having none of it.

18 mins - 'Zogbia is Wigan's main man and he comes inside again after swapping passes with Diame. Bridge blocks his shot and it spins to Green, who takes a touch and hoofs the ball down the right touchline to safety.

16 mins - In conditions and circumstances like this, it was always going to be a breathless game. 'Zogbia crosses and West Ham scramble the ball away after Hines makes a decent challenge on Figueroa just outside the box.

15 mins - Piquionne loses possession inside the Wigan half and Rodallega runs into the left channel, pulling Tomkins wide. The striker pulls the ball back for 'Zogbia, who bursts through a challenge and shoots, but again it's safely into the arms of Green.

14 mins - The home fans are rather quiet at present, while the travelling hordes are singing their hearts out behind the goal to my left. A chorus of 'We are staying up!' is followed by an ode to Demba Ba.

12 mins - GOAL! Demba Ba! Hitzlsperger's corner drops to Piquionne, whose shot is blocked to Collison. He volleys goalwards and McCarthy blocks. The ball spins wide to Htzlsperger, who crosses for Ba, who powers a header past Al Habsi from seven yards.

11 mins - This is quite open so far. Piquionne races down the left and wins a corner.

10 mins - Spector's industry almost creates a chance as West Ham win a throw, but the American can't control on the edge of the penalty area. Wigan break and Boyce sends a long pass into Rodallega, who controls on his chest and shoots on the turn, but it's straight at Green.

9 mins - Wigan have started the brighter of the two sides, as you would probably expect as they are the home team. However, West Ham are working their way back into things and are working hard to close down the space. Spector does just that to charge down Boyce's clearance for a throw. Ba has gone central now, with Piquionne wide left.

8 mins - Fulham are winning at Birmingham...

7 mins - 'Zogbia sets the ball back for Boyce to cross. Green has the ball covered under pressure from Rodallega. He spills the delivery but has time to collect on the bounce.

5 mins - Collison and Hitzlsperger combine before the Welshman rolls in Piquionne down the right edge of the area. He crosses low and Watson hacks clear left-footed for a throw. West Ham come again and Hines crosses from the right, but it's too high for Ba. Collison can't control and Wigan can clear their lines again.

4 mins - Wigan have started fast amid a really intimidating atmosphere here at the DW. Diame gets in space on the left corner of the box and cuts on to his right foot. He shoots from about 18 yards but his effort is wayward and flies off target and into the stand.

2 mins - Ooh! Wigan come close to scoring early on. Cleverley shoots and the ball hits Spence and nearly wrongfoots Green, who sprawls to his right to push the ball around the post. Cleverley wants a penalty for handball, but referee Mike Dean gives a corner. Cleverley takes himself but boots the ball too long and out for a goal kick.

1 min - The pitch looks very, very greasy. I think we could see some players slipping around all over the place this afternoon.

4pm - Watson and Rodallega get the game off and running...

3.58pm - The two teams are swapping ends, meaning West Ham will shoot towards their own fans in the first half. The Latics will get things underway as soon as Wigan have finished their huddle.

3.56pm - Here come the two teams, led by captains Robert Green and Gary Caldwell. The DW Stadium is not full, but there are still a fair few fans here. I don't need to tell you which set of supporters are making the most noise... West Ham are in claret and blue shirts, white shorts and light blue socks, while Wigan are in blue and white shirts, shorts and socks.

3.55pm - It may be a long shot, but West Ham can stay up. Who would bet against former Hammers striker Bobby Zamora scoring the winner for Fulham at Birmingham? Obviously the Hammers have to take care of business themselves, but they won 1-0 at Wigan two seasons ago through Carlton Cole's wonder goal, so it can happen. Individually and collectively, we have to keep the faith.

3.50pm - Just to give you a bit of information about Jordan Spence. The defender started the season as reserve-team captain and ended it as an England Under-21 international after impressing greatly during a loan spell at Championship club Bristol City. The 20-year-old right-back made his only previous first-team appearance as a substitute on the final day of last season in a 1-1 home draw with Manchester City.

3.45pm - I must confess it is a truly miserable day here weather-wise. It's raining steadily and there is a chilly wind blowing through the open corners of the stadium. Looking up at the sky, I can't see the sun shining anytime soon. On the pitch in front of me, the two sets of players are going through their final warm-ups. The 4,500 travelling fans are making plenty of noise behind the goal to my left. David Bowie's 'Heroes' is playing over the PA system. Very apt.

3.10pm - The teams are in. West Ham manager Avram Grant has made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers last weekend. In come Jordan Spence for a full debut, James Tomkins, Zavon Hines and Frederic Piquionne. Out go Lars Jacobsen, Manuel da Costa, Freddie Sears and Carlton Cole. Scott Parker is on the bench.

Good afternoon and welcome to a decidedly wet DW Stadium for today's vital Barclays Premier League fixture between Wigan Athletic and West Ham United.

It is quite simply now or never for the Hammers, who must win here if they are to have any chance of retaining their place in the top-flight. Even then, Avram Grant's side require a favour from Fulham, who must win at Birmingham City to keep West Ham's survival hopes alive.

Wigan also need to win after a Saturday which saw relegation rivals Blackpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers both win and Blackburn Rovers secure a draw with champions Manchester United, so the scene is set for a titanic struggle.

As things stand, West Ham have 33 points and Wigan 36, both from 36 games played. Birmingham and Blackburn have 39 from 36 and 37 games played respectively, while Blackburn and Wolves are now out of reach on 40 points.

Grant will hope his team's chances are boosted by the return of Scott Parker. The FWA Player of the Year has missed the last three games with an achilles injury but trained this week and could be back today. Sticking in midfield, Jack Collison will hope to make his first start in 14 months after making an impressive substitute appearance against Blackburn last weekend.

Parker scored in the 3-1 home victory in the reverse fixture between the two sides at the Boleyn Ground in November, while Collison will be eager to erase the memory of suffering a serious knee injury here two seasons ago.

West Ham will be cheered on by 4,500 travelling supporters this afternoon, many of whom will have taken advantage of the club's offer to lay on free coach travel to Wigan. More than 30 coaches left the Boleyn Ground at 8.30am and made the 240-mile journey up to Lancashire.

Wigan midfielder Charles 'Zogbia could reach a personal milestone today. If he appears, the 24-year-old will be making his 200th career Premier League appearance.

The team news will be made available at around 3pm and will be published first here on whufc.com and on the club's official twitter account here.

Wigan Athletic: Al Habsi, Boyce, Alcaraz, G.Caldwell, Figueroa, Diame, McCarthy, Cleverley, Watson, 'Zogbia, Rodallega
Subs: Kirkland, Gohouri, Gomez, McArthur, Moses, Di Santo, Sammon

West Ham United: Green, Spence, Tomkins, Gabbidon, Bridge, Spector, Collison, Hitzlsperger, Hines, Ba, Piquionne
Subs: Boffin, Da Costa, Upson, Parker, Sears, Keane, Cole