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SEASON REVIEW: JANUARY AND FEBRUARY

Caldwell celebrates powerful header against Southampton.

PUBLISHED

12:00 10th June 2013

by Nick Taylor

The transfer window, the first three rounds of the FA Cup and the return of Paul Scharner.

Wigan Athletic lost just three times in the first two months of 2013, with 11 games played and four victories collected all on the road.

Scharner return 820x620The FA Cup kicked off for Barclays Premier League and Npower Championship teams, Paul Scharner (pictured right) returned to the DW Stadium and Latics completed their first double of the season by beating Reading 3-0 in the final game of February.

Success in those two months made up for a slow start to the year after Latics lost 4-0 on New Year’s Day against Manchester United at the DW.

The tonic for that defeat was a home third round FA Cup tie against League One AFC Bournemouth but their impressive unbeaten run at the time and fine form in the league could not be taken lightly.

Bournemouth took the lead in the first half through Eunan O’Kane and Latics had Jordi Gomez to thank for a Tuesday night replay 10 days later after he turned in a rebound from his own missed penalty to draw 1-1.

Di Santo cele v Fulham 820x620Another 1-1 followed as Latics started to pick up league points, but they had to come from behind at Craven Cottage after Giorgos Karagounis’ low drive gave Fulham the lead, only for Franco Di Santo (pictured celebrating) to turn on the style in the second half and earn his side a point with an excellent effort from the edge of the hosts’ penalty box.

Attention then turned back to the FA Cup which saw Latics travel 250 miles to the south coast for the third round replay against Bournemouth, with Mauro Boselli’s 18th minute strike proving just enough to send Roberto Martinez’s side through to the fourth round to face Macclesfield Town.

A trip to Moss Rose Stadium brought back memories for plenty of the 2,000 plus travelling fans, but it built new ones for everyone in the away end as a Gomez penalty was enough to send Latics through 1-0 as the FA Cup quest continued.

It was a tough four league games for Latics at the end of January and beginning of February though, as they lost twice and drew twice, with Sunderland (January 19) and Chelsea (February 8) taking maximum points.

Maloney goal v Southampton 820x620The two 2-2 draws against Stoke City (January 29) and Southampton (February 2) proved dramatic, with Shaun Maloney scoring (pictured) in stoppage time at home to the Saints, but it was the Stoke game garnered one of the most impressive second half displays of the season after Latics fell 2-0 down at the Britannia Stadium, before goals from James McArthur and Di Santo (main image) earned a point, with Latics unlucky not to go away with more.

One of the stars of the night Roger Espinoza was making his first league start for the club, having made his full debut two weeks earlier in the replay against Bournemouth after joining up with his new team mates for the first time at the start of the transfer window.

Following the Honduras midfielder into the club were loanees Joel Robles from Atletico Madrid and Angelo Henriquez from Manchester United and Paul Scharner who returned to Latics after leaving the club in 2010 for West Bromwich Albion.

It would only be a temporary stay for the eccentric Austrian as a loan deal was agreed with his parent club Hamburg until the end of the season.

A mixed few weeks of football during the first two months of the year were seen off in fine fashion in the final two games of February as the statistics read two played, two won and seven goals scored.

A fifth round tie with Everton at Goodison Park was set up after an emphatic victory away at Huddersfield Town.

The John Smith’s Stadium witnessed Latics’ FA Cup steam train roll through with Callum McManaman, James McArthur and an Arouna Kone double sending Latics on their way with a 4-1 win.

A magic March was being teed up for the cup and things were looking up in the Premier League as well after a 3-0 victory against Reading six days after the fifth round lifted Latics up to 17th in the league.

Kone goal v Reading 820x620Kone (pictured) was in fine form and for the second game running he grabbed himself a brace, with Maynor Figueroa rounding off the win as the hosts at the Madejski Stadium went down to ten men when Pavel Pogrebnyak was given his marching orders.

Goodison Park, Loftus Road, the Etihad Stadium and the small matter of a trip to Wembley were on the horizon as Latics moved into March with two aims, Premier League survival and the FA Cup.

The next installment of our season review will be available on the website on June 20 as we take a look at March and April.

You can view Pre-season and August by [clicking here], September and October by [clicking here] and November and December by [clicking here].

Huddle v Millwall 16x9
A look at what's to come - Latics get ready for their first ever trip to the new Wembley Stadium.

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