Superb performance as Latics see off Hartlepool in style
HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0
WIGAN ATHLETIC 3
Collins 3 (og)
Report by Paul Chialton
Just what the doctor ordered at Victoria Park with Latics giving a professional performance and seeing of Hartlepool in style with a cushioned 3-0 victory.
An own-goal from Sam Collins early on followed by superb strikes from Jordi Gomez and Victor Moses sealed the win, giving the team a massive confidence boost ahead of Saturday's trip to Tottenham.
Roberto Martinez had made six changes to his side handing debuts to Ali Al Habsi and Stephen Caldwell who were both hugely influential in the win.
It thanks to heavy pressure from Caldwell that Latics took the lead so early on, with Jordi Gomez's free-kick to the near-post being turned into his own goal by Sam Collins who failed in fending off the centre-half.
It served as the perfect ice-breaker as Latics went on to control the tempo of the game and create some dangerous openings up-front, not allowing the home side to gather any momentum.
When a chance did come Hartlepool's way Al Habsi was on hand to prevent them hitting the back of the net, saving superbly from Joe Gamble after 20 minutes to maintain the lead.
Up-front Hugo Rodallega and Mauro Boselli formed a good partnership, supporting one another well and causing problems for the Hartlepool defence. Rodallega should have doubled the lead before half-time but could not convert after finding himself one-on-one with the 'keeper.
However, Jordi Gomez was on hand to make Latics' pressure count, guiding a 25-yard free-kick over the wall and in off the post with just under 10 minutes left, tying up the game and putting to bed any chance of a revival for Hartlepool.
Victor Moses made his introduction late-on and was full of confidence, eager to get hold of the ball and run at the defence. He got his rewards with minutes left, finding space just outside the area and drilling low into the bottom right corner to round off a confidence-boosting night for the team.
Latics: Al Habsi; Boyce, Alcaraz, S. Caldwell, Figueroa; Thomas, McArthur (McCarthy, 67); Gomez, Watson, Rodallega (Moses, 67); Boselli (N'Zogbia, 80)
Subs: Pollitt, Stam, Mustoe, Diame
Hartlepool: Flinders; Haslam, Collins, Liddle, Horwood, Sweeney, Gamble, Murray (McSweeney, 77), Brown (Larkin, 55), Boyd (Behan, 68), Monkhouse
Subs: Rafferty, Humphreys, Fredriksen, Hartley