Latics come from behind to claim great win at The Hawthorns
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Gomez 56 (pen)
Report by Paul Chialton
Latics survived a late West Brom onslaught at The Hawthorns to hold onto their 2-1 lead and claim three vital points that not only lifts them off the foot of the Barclays Premier League but also, momentarily at least, out of the relegation zone altogether.
Coming from a goal down Roberto Martinez's men fought their way back into the game and earn the win thanks to cool strikes from wing-wizard Victor Moses and Jordi Gomez.
The home side started brightly but Latics grew into the encounter steadily and were soon on top, bolstered by the return of Antolin Alcaraz at the back who put barely a foot wrong before coming off with a suspected broken rib.
But they were set-back after half-an-hour when Gary Caldwell was penalised for a push on Shane Long 30-yards out - up stepped Steven Reid to dispatch the free-kick superbly into the top-left corner and put the Baggies into the lead.
Credit goes to the response from Latics following the goal, spurred on by the 500-strong travelling support they thwarted a second-goal for the home side via Caldwell's superb block (it wasn't to be the last) before Moses levelled the scores up.
Played into the area by Mohamed Diame the man who turns 21 on Monday gifted himself an early birthday present by curling one majestically into the top-right corner - a beautiful finish for his first goal of the season that will no doubt allow his confidence to soar in the coming weeks.
The visitors continued to settle on the game, with James McCarthy helping cut through the midfield with great support either side of him and excellent hold-up play from Conor Sammon who again produced a sterling performance up-top.
The winner came just before the hour-mark following an incident involving both goalscorers; Moses again was at the heart of Latics' threat, bamboozling two defenders before breaking into the area and drawing the foul from Reid.
Referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Gomez stepped-up, ice-cool, to slot home his third goal of the season and second from the spot.
What followed was the most tense finale to a game so far this season, with West Brom throwing everything at Latics, leaving themselves exposed at the back and coming close to finding an equaliser just as they did in this fixture last season.
Caldwell was a man-mountain at the back, winning everything in the air, throwing himself at every shot and leading by example as captain - a man-of-the-match performance from the Scotland international.
He wasn't alone in helping secure the points, as Maynor Figueroa denied Chris Brunt a clean header at goal with a last ditch interception, whilst Ali Al Habsi, who had denied Brunt in the first-half by tipping onto the bar pushed a Long header wide from close-range.
In the dying moments former-Latics midfielder Paul Scharner came close and Graham Dorrans was booked for diving inside the area in a heart-stopping decision by the referee that proved to be the right one.
Moses had the chance to wrap things up at the other end but was denied by a late tackle on the edge of the area, but it mattered not as Latics held on, rode the storm and showed tremendous character and determination to take home three well-deserved, precious points before the arrival of Chelsea at the DW Stadium next weekend.
West Brom: Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey; Brunt, Morrison (Scharner, 84), Mulumbu (Dorrans, 66), Thomas; Odemwingie (Tchoyi, 80), Long
Subs: Fulop, Dawson, B. Jones, Cox
Latics: Al Habsi; Stam (McArthur, 70), Alcaraz (Gohouri, 67), Caldwell, Figueroa, D. Jones; McCarthy, Diame, Gomez, Moses, Sammon (Di Santo, 80)
Subs: Pollitt, Watson, Maloney, Rodallega