Wigan Athletic 2 West Bromwich Albion 1
Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce had no choice but to concede that West Bromwich Albion had been “mugged” at the JJB Stadium, but Albion manager Tony Mowbray said his side only had themselves to blame for throwing away three precious points.
Albion suffered their fourth consecutive defeat and are now rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table, but this should have been a comfortable victory.
Mowbray’s men produced another impressive performance but their lack of goals is causing real concern and Mowbray knows he must find at least one striker in the transfer market who can convert the performances into victories.
After Ishmael Miller had given Albion a deserved lead just after half-time with the kind of clinical finish Mowbray is on about, Albion had two one-on-ones with Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland, who also produced stunning saves to deny Jonathan Greening and Jonas Olsson from point-blank range.
James Morrison and Chris Brunt both found themselves with only Kirkland to beat after Albion had carved open the Latics’ defence but neither could beat the former Albion keeper.
Albion were then punished for two poor defensive mistakes as Paul Robinson’s attempted header back to Scott Carson was intercepted by Henri Camara for the equaliser and then Carson and Olsson combined to gift Wigan a late corner from which Emmerson Boyce headed powerfully home to win the game.
Kirkland received the plaudits from Bruce for his man-of-the-match display, but for Mowbray it was a case of wasteful finishing.
“Football is about being clinical in both boxes and with the chances we have created, and missed, you are not going to win many games,” he said. “We paid a heavy price today.
“A player that costs £10 million or £15 million might have stuck them in the bottom corner.
“We go through and we hit the keeper in the chest or he pushes it wide and the chance has gone. A Nicolas Anelka would go through, give the keeper the eyes, send him one way and chip it over him and it is 1-0 and we are kicking off again.
“We didn’t have enough quality to put Wigan to the sword when we had the opportunity.”
Whether he can obtain a player who can show a more ruthless streak in front of goal only time will tell, but Mowbray knows he must find someone during the January transfer window or Albion will face a difficult second half to the
Mowbray will be hampered as well by funds and has admitted he may have to sell to buy, so he is going to have to unearth a gem on the cheap.
“Come January we are going to have to take a few gambles I think,” he said. “Perhaps on some players who are out of favour somewhere because not many Premier League sides are going to throw us a striker who is a proven goalscorer in this league.
“We are going to have to take a young striker from one of the top clubs in Europe or someone who has fallen out with his coach somewhere. They are certainly not falling off trees.”
Scorers: Miller (47) 0-1; Camara (61) 1-1; Boyce (87) 2-1.
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Kirkland; Taylor (Melchiot, 70), Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa (Kilbane, 81); Valencia, Cattermole, Brown (Koumas, 60), Palacios; Camara, Heskey. Substitutes: Pollitt (gk), Kingson (gk), de Ridder, Cywka.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-5-1): Carson; Zuiverloon, Meite, Olsson, Robinson; Morrison (Moore, 89), Valero, Koren, Greening, Brunt (Bednar, 89); Miller. Substitutes: Kiely (gk), Teixeira, Barnett, Kim, Cech.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
Booking: Albion – Greening (foul).