Rodallega seals first DW win for Latics
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
WEST HAM UNITED 0
Report by Paul Chialton
Hugo Rodallega's second-half strike gave Latics a hard-fought and well earned victory over Gianfranco Zola's West Ham.
A great passage of lay from Charles N'Zogbia and Mario Melchiot on the right-wing led to the Dutchman with the ball on the by-line. His low cross found Jason Koumas at the back-post and although his shot was cleared off the line, Rodallega was on hand to fire home at point-blank range.
The goal forced West Ham to push forward and when Paul Scharner came on to fill-in the centre, Latics fans could sense a tense finish. That's exactly what they got!
Alessandro Diamanti came on and made a big impact, first coming close from a 25yard free-kick that flew inches wide, then striking the ball against the upright with a fantastic effort from the left corner.
They continued to plough forward and Carlton Cole was the target man time after time, but Titus Bramble and Emmerson Boyce were wise to his danger and did a fantastic job in preventing him any clear opportunities.
The hard work and effort put in by the defence late-on was typified by Chris Kirkland who, in the last minute of the game came bursting out of his goal and rise above a huddle of players to claim a lofted free-kick.
It was that kind of inspiration Martinez needed today and it wasn't just at the back where he got it.
Momo Diame gave without doubt his best performance in a Wigan Athletic shirt, and as well as using his strength to hold off the likes of Scott Parker, he looked graceful in possession; making things tick over nicely and bringing players into the game. A boost in confidence from him is just what the team need and together with Hendry Thomas the pair have the makings of a fearsome central midfield.
Up at the top Rodallega and Koumas continued to strengthen their playing partnership, the two really looked at ease with each other and clearly have a fantastic understanding of one another's game.
Overall Martinez's men laid a solid platform for this victory and although they were made to sweat late on were good value for the three points.
Latics: Kirkland; Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa; Diame, Thomas; N'Zogbia, Gomez (Sinclair, 90), Koumas (Scharner, 65); Rodallega (Scotland, 72)
Subs: Pollitt, Cho, Edman, King
West Ham: Green; Faubert, Upson, Tomkins, Gabbidon; Hines, Parker, Noble (Nouble, 87), Kovac (Behrami 63); Cole, Stanislas (Diamanti, 63)
Subs: Kurucz, Da Costa, Spector, Collison