Ten-man Baggies stun Wigan
By Paul Higham - Created on 15 Jan 06
Ten-man West Brom stunned Wigan with a 1-0 victory at The JJB Stadium, with substitute Martin Albrechtsen scoring the all-important winner.
The Baggies had not won away from The Hawthorns since March last year, and it looked as though the wait would go on after Darren Moore was sent off two minutes before half time.
Albrechtsen only came onto the pitch to cover for Moore's dismissal, but he popped up with his first goal for the club 11 minutes into the second half to hand Albion an unlikely win.
The three points were only achieved though with the help of goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, who made a fantastic point-blank save in the dying seconds to hand Bryan Robson's men an unlikely victory.
Jimmy Bullard picked out Jason Roberts early on with a quick free kick, but the big striker could not turn and get a shot in on goal.
Steve Watson replied for Albion by firing his back-post volley goalwards from a corner, but Mike Pollitt was able to parry the ball away comfortably.
Wigan looked far more confident but West Brom nearly took the lead on 35 minutes when Kevin Campbell ghosted in beyond the hesitant Stephane Henchoz but his toe-poked deflected over.
Paul Scharner stung the palms of Kuszczak with a powerful drive five minutes before half time, but more trouble was to come for Albion just before the break.
Albion were reduced to ten men just two minutes before the interval when the already booked Darren Moore blatantly blocked off Roberts' run on the halfway line.
Referee Martin Atkinson had no option but to produce a second yellow for the big defender, to the disgust of Robson who was bitterly disappointed with Moore's actions.
It signalled an early end to Nathan Ellington's return to The JJB Stadium as he was sacrificed by Robson to bring defender Albrechtsen onto the pitch.
The ten men of West Brom started the second half well, and Pollitt was a shade fortunate that Campbell's flicked header from merely four yards hit his hands.
Albion then stunned the home crowd by taking the lead on 56 minutes, with Ronnie Wallwork out-muscling Scharner inside his own half before running and sliding in a perfectly weighted pass for Albrechtsen.
The substitute kept his composure and rifled a low shot under Pollitt to give the ten-man visitors the most unlikely of leads, considering their shocking away record.
Wigan set about in search of an equaliser, and Lee McCulloch was unfortunate to see his header come back off the crossbar after Pascal Chimbonda had nodded a corner back into the centre.
The Latics were piling on the pressure but Albrechtsen nearly killed them off when he led a lightning break down the right, but he opted to drive on and have a shot saved by Pollitt when Darren Carter was screaming for the ball in the middle.
Graham Kavanagh nearly made him pay for his decision with a curling free kick, but a flying Kuszczak turned the ball away for a corner.
Kuszczak was the hero for West Brom in stoppage time when he produced a wonderful flying save to deny Roberts at point blank rage after a goalmouth scramble.
The keeper's save was enough to see Albion hang on to their lead and secure their first away win since March last year.
Wigan v West Brom - Player Ratings
Wigan Athletic Team Statistics West Bromwich Albion
0 Goals 1
0 1st Half Goals 0
8 Shots on Target 6
14 Shots off Target 1
4 Blocked Shots 0
6 Corners 5
13 Fouls 18
2 Offsides 2
0 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 1
45.1 Possession 54.9