Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Monday February 25 2008
Rams a rabble in defeat
The Rams left the JJB Stadium on Saturday with the words of manager Paul Jewel still ring in their ears.
Jewell returned to his former club for the first time since he quit in May after six-years in charge. But he was left fuming with the performance of his side as second half goals from Paul Scharner and Antonio Valencia gave Wigan all three points.
Scharner pounced on the hour mark to turn the ball in at the far post after Emile Heskey's close-range effort was parried by Derby keeper Roy Carroll.
Valencia then wrapped up the points six minutes from time, crashing a shot into the roof of the net from six-yards.
The result moves Wigan up three places to 14th while Derby remains bottom, and they have now gone a club record 21 league matches without a win and are heading ever closer to the Championship.
It was the Rams who managed the first effort on goal after six minutes, Stephen Pearson firing straight at Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland from the edge of the box.
Wigan responded with Mario Melchiot delivering a perfect in-swinging cross to Kevin Kilbane, but the midfielder headed straight at Carroll who gathered the ball at the second attempt.
The game, which was never a classic by any stretch of the imagination, was dominated by the home side, with the Rams thankful for Carroll, Alan Stubbs and a fair share of luck.
Melchiot was denied a 25th minute opener when Giles Barnes cleared the defender's close-range back-heel from of the line. Wigan players believed it was over the line and TV replays showed it was very close.
Then a through ball from Emile Heskey sent Marlon King clear but the assistant referee flagged for offside, again replay`s showed he was onside.
It was a dismal performance from the Rams, especially after a number of encouraging games. But they are still without a win on their travels this season and with Latic`s keeper Chris Kirkland a spectator for most of the game, they offered little threat at all, much to the disappointment of another large travelling contingent.
But the Rams stubborn resistance lasted for an hour, until Scharner scored his fifth goal of the season.
Carroll made a fine double save to palm out Heskey's header and then tip away the striker's follow-up but the ball rebounded of Craig Fagan into the path of Scharner and Carroll could do nothing about his far-post effort.
Melchiot was close to making it two in the 80th minute as his header from a Kilbane corner flashed wide, before Valencia sealed Wigan's second successive home win.
A late volley from Australian international Mile Sterjovski, which flashed just wide of the right hand upright, was as good as it got for the Rams.
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Scharner, Edman (Koumas 90), Valencia, Brown, Palacios, Kilbane, Heskey (Bent 90), King (Sibierski 85).
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Bramble.
Derby: Carroll, Leacock (Todd 46), Stubbs, Moore, McEveley, Fagan, Ghaly (Sterjovski 62), Savage, Pearson (Villa 57), Barnes, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Price, Lewis.
Referre: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).
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Date:Monday February 25 2008
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