ASTON VILLA 0
WIGAN ATHLETIC 3
It was the final game of 2012, the 150th game of Roberto Martinez’s time in charge of Wigan Athletic and the 15th Premier League meeting between Latics and Aston Villa and it would be signed off in style with a thumping 3-0 victory.
Ivan Ramis (right) opened the scoring with a thumping header just three minutes into his return from the injury he picked up against Reading a month earlier.
Emmerson Boyce doubled the lead just after half time with a superb solo run, before Arouna Kone rounded Brad Guzan minutes later to wrap up the 3-0 win.
Ramis’ early goal came from a Jean Beausejour corner but there arguably should have been a penalty in the build-up.
Gary Caldwell’s diagonal pass towards Franco Di Santo deflected off the arm of defender Matthew Lowton but wasn’t seen clearly by referee Kevin Friend who pointed for a corner, never fear though as Ramis rose unmarked giving Guzan no chance.
Another penalty claim came just five minutes after the goal when Stephen Ireland hacked down Shaun Maloney on the by-line inside the area on the left but again the referee didn’t flinch.
Both Maloney and Kone fired chances over the bar before the half an hour mark which gave Villa room to improve.
Belgian forward Christian Benteke had the ball in the net on 35 minutes but he was teed up by an offside Andreas Weimann and the goal was correctly ruled out.
Villa went into half time with their tails up after a flurry of attempt, including Australian midfielder Brett Holman striking the crossbar from a tight angle at the back post.
Latics needed something to settle them after half time and Emmerson Boyce had just the antidote for any nerves when he drove at the Villa defence, played a neat one-two with Kone and burst into the box to sweep his right footed shot into the bottom corner to double the lead.
Moments later a third goal put plenty of room between the two sides when strength and pace ruled over Villa’s defenders as Kone latched onto Di Santo’s inch-perfect through ball, out-muscling defenders before rounding Guzan and squeezing the ball in from an acute angle.
That wasn’t to say Villa didn’t push for a goal of their own but Benteke, Elliott Bennett and Andreas Weimann could only fire wide or over, leaving Paul Lambert’s side without a goal for the third game running.
Callum McManaman came close to scoring his first ever Premier League goal late on as a substitute for Kone but Latics didn’t need a fourth goal.
Latics saw out the 3-0 win to claim their third victory and clean sheet of the season in their first win at Villa Park since Roberto Martinez’s first game in charge of the club back in August 2009.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Clark, Ireland (El Ahmadi 63), Holman (Bowery 63), Benteke, Bannan, Weimann, Bennett, Lichaj (Albrighton 64), Herd, Lowton
Latics: Al Habsi, Kone (McManaman 87), McCarthy, Caldwell, Jones (McArthur 65), Di Santo, Maloney, Boyce, Ramis, Beausejour (Gomez 79), Figueroa
“I don’t do tap-ins to be fair; I don’t really get that chance to.
“Thankfully I scored at the end of my run forwards and it’s all about how it helped the team.
“The manager told us to play with calm heads and get a second goal early and that’s exactly what we did.”
“I thought we played very well in every department and we feel like we really accomplished what we set out to do in our preparations.
“The attitude of the team was superb and the dressing room is a great place to be at the moment.
“The difference today from recent games is that we were clinical and we’ve taken those benefits with three well deserved points.”
“The manager told me at half time that I needed to kill the game off and be clinical so I’m really happy that we got the two goals so quickly after the restart.
“I’m happy with how I’m playing personally but that’s just a reflection of how well the team is doing.
“The team has really found its feet again.”
“It was a quiet game for me but the concentration needed to be there.
“Today our defending was brilliant and I’m happy to keep a clean sheet, especially the day before my 31st birthday in the final game of the year.”