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21:52 16th March 2010


Brave Latics denied by Milner strike

Caldwell 27

McCarthy (OG) 25,
Milner 63

Report by Paul Chialton

James Milner's second-half strike sealed a win for the visitors after a performance Latics can be extremely proud of.

Putting to bed the painful experience at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday Roberto Martinez's approached this game determined to put on a display and attack their opponents.

However it was Villa who took a first-half lead when James McCarthy bizarrely sliced the ball into his own head from a Titus Bramble clearance.

But the Republic of Ireland international atoned for his error moments later, surging forward and winning a free-kick on the right-wing. Charles N'Zogbia's precision cross found the rising Gary Caldwell who glanced home with his head from six yards.

The centre-half gave an inspirational display at the back, keeping Latics' defensive set-up organised and making all the right decisions, earning the man-of-the-match award.

His equaliser was a typical response from a side who were full of fight and confidence.

Marcelo Moreno completed his first 90 minutes in a Wigan Athletic shirt and was solid up-front, linking well with those around him and coming close on a number of occasion.

The Bolivian's 30-yard strike shortly into the second-half skimmed wide of Brad Friedel's left-hand post with the 'keeper well beaten.

But Villa always looked dangerous going forward with the instrumental James Milner pulling the strings and the blistering pace of Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor looking to find gaps.

When their persistence paid-off it was a tough blow for the home side who deserved to take something from the game rather than the feeling of disappointment.

Late introductions for Victor Moses and Paul Scharner certainly added a new dimension to Latics' front-line and on a number of occasions they found themselves in promising positions.

However the organised Villa back-line and a slight lack of composure stood in the way of a second equaliser.

Hard lines then for the home side but if they take this performance into Saturday's game against Burnley they should fancy their chances.

Kirkland; Boyce (Scotland, 90), Bramble, Caldwell, Figueroa; Thomas, Diame; N'Zogbia (Moses, 56), Rodallega, McCarthy (Scharner, 71); Moreno

Stojkovic, Amaya, Gomez, Sinclair

Villa: Friedel; Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Downing, Petrov, Milner, A. Young; Carew (Heskey, 81), Agbonlahor (Sidwell, 81)

Subs: Guzan, L. Young, Delfouneso, Delph, Beye

    Data provided by Press Association