Fantastic performance deserves more as Latics' survival edges closer
WEST HAM UNITED 3
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Spector (og) 4
Report by Paul Chialton
Despite results elsewhere going in Latics' favour they'll feel extremely hard-done by not to come away from East London with any points after dominating West Ham for large portions of this encounter.
A game basked in sunshine looked as though it would have a bright outcome after just four minutes when Jonathan Spector headed a Ben Watson corner past his own 'keeper to put Latics into the lead.
A great start, and a great performance that followed showing composure and confidence in moving the ball round and creating real openings around the West Ham defence.
Gary Caldwell was back in the squad after his suspension and showed just how much of an asset he really is shortly after the opening goal. Carlton Cole broke into the area and rounded the 'keeper only for Caldwell to clear the striker's attempt off the line. Superb defending and a moment that highlight's what the Scottish international brings to this team.
James McCarthy came close to doubling the lead on the half-hour mark, belting none from 30-yards only for Robert Green to tip onto the bar.
It was turning out to be a promising afternoon for Latics, knowing a win would guarantee Premier League survival. How quickly things change!
Following McCarthy's shot poor defending at the back allowed Cole time and space inside the area to square for Ilan who tapped into an empty net.
The equaliser lifted the home crowd and inspired the Hammers to a second moments before half-time, Mark Noble's pin-point free-kick forcing Chris Kirkland into a fantastic full-stretch save, but only able to push the ball into the path of Radoslav Kovac who headed into an empty net.
But rather than let a devastating blow knock their confidence Latics came out after the break fighting, soon gaining control of the game again and wasting no time in getting an equaliser of their own through Hugo Rodallega.
Another superb corner from Watson found the Colombian on the back-post to chest home for his tenth goal of the season. Confusion followed as to whether the ball had struck Hugo on the arm or not, but Alan Wiley was having none of it and waved away West Ham's protests.
And so with the tide again in favour of the away side it seemed only a matter of time before the winner would come. It did, but for West Ham.
Scott Parker grabbed it, picking the ball up 30-yards out and striking wonderfully past Chris Kirkland. A fine finish the 'keeper could do nothing about.
West Ham held on to grab a vital win for themselves and whilst Latics will be deeply frustrated with the result all eyes will be on tomorrow's clash between Burnley and Liverpool where a win for the Reds will finally confirm the club's Premier League status.
Latics: Kirkland; Melchiot, Bramble, Caldwell, Figueroa; Diame (Scharner, 90), McCarthy; N'Zogbia (Scotland, 90), Watson, Rodallega; Moreno (Moses, 37)
Subs: Stojkovic, Boyce, Gohouri, Sinclair
West Ham: Green; Faubert, Upson, da Costa, Spector; Kovac, Parker, Noble; (Daprela, 91) Behrami, Cole, Ilan (Franco, 71)
Subs: Kurucz, Gabbidon, McCarthy, Diamanti, Stanislas