1-1 Scharner 24
- Match reports
- 01 December 2007 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news
As we knew on Thursday, Elano misses out, in his place Sven has selected Geovanni for a rare start. Upfront Georgios Samaras gets the nod over Rolando Bianchi and there's a place on the bench today for Academy Graduate Kelvin Etuhu.
For the home side, former Blues midfield terrier, Michael Brown misses out through suspension and there's no Sibierski for Wigan, he misses out with a dead leg.
A final note of caution sees Mike Riley as today's referee...the last City game he was involved in was at Stamford Bridge...no repeat of that please!
What a start at the JJB. My first words at this fixture last year were of a goal and it’s the same again this season with an even quicker strike.
With just 56 seconds on the clock City took the lead thanks to Geovanni – proving an able replacement for Elano within a minute.
A long ball from midfield saw Titus Bramble make a complete hash of his attempted clearance, Geovanni picked his pocket, rounded Kirkland and finished coolly to give Steve Bruce the worst possible start of his second spell at Wigan.
After the initial shock, the home side rallied and put City under pressure, chasing every ball and closing down quickly.
There was long stoppage 16 minutes in as Javi Garrido received treatment following a clash of heads with Valencia. He returned to action moments later after an encounter with a cold magic sponge.
And it was as a result of that head injury that Wigan came back into the game on 24 minutes. Jason Koumas put across a fine ball from the left that the unmarked Paul Scharner gladly took advantage of as he levelled the score with a diving header from about six-yards out. Scharner could have been picked up by the seemingly injured Garrido.
After 36 minutes City made the inevitable change as Garrido couldn't carry on and was replaced by Michael Ball.
City rarely threatened after being gifted the lead and Wigan’s up-and-at-‘em approach had pulled them back into the game. Some wise words were needed at the break from Mr Eriksson as the Blues laboured at times during the first 45 minutes.
In that 45th minute Didi Hamann picked up his fifth booking of the season and will miss next week's trip to Tottenham.
HALF TIME: Wigan 1-1 City
No changes at the break as City look to keep up their record of not losing a game where they have scored first.
Eight minutes into the second half Wigan were dealt a blow when Emile Heskey had to be taken off. It was the England striker's first appearance after returning from injury. Steve Bruce replaced him with defender Ryan Taylor.
And it was substitute Taylor who almost gave Wigan the lead just minutes after coming on. Scharner helped on a cross from the right and the former Tranmere man hit a left foot volley which Isaksson did well to turn behind for a corner.
Titus Bramble became the second name taken by Mike Riley on 62 minutes for a crude foul on Samaras.
With 21 minutes left Eriksson gave a Barclays Premier League debut to Kelvin Etuhu in place of Geovanni. The pacy forward took up a position on the right of midfield as Stephen Ireland, making his 50th start for City, moved into the role behind Samaras.
On 78 minutes it was the Greek striker who made way for Rolando Bianchi...much to the delight of the travelling 5,000 Blues.
Both teams played out the half like they had something to lose as chances had been few and far between.
As the game drew to its drab conclusion, Wigan captain Mario Melchiot was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Stephen Ireland two minutes from time, a shame for City that it hadn't come sooner.
The Blues survived a last minute penalty claim against Etuhu as the ball bounced up awkwardly and appeared to hit his arm, but referee Riley guaranteed his hostile exit from the pitch by not giving it.
All in all another away game down and another away point picked up. City weren't really at the races today but can at least take comfort from the fact they make the short journey home one point better off.
FULL TIME: Wigan 1-1 City
mcfc.co.uk's Man of the Match: Didi Hamann. The usual assured performance from the German midfielder.