Latics too slick for Trotters
Wigan closed the gap on Bolton in the relegation dogfight after claiming a vital 2-1 victory in the Lancashire derby at the Reebok.
By Razwan Mirza
Last Updated: 16/02/12 4:13pm
Wigan closed the gap on Bolton in the relegation dogfight after claiming a vital 2-1 victory in the Lancashire derby at the Reebok Stadium.
The Latics' first win in 10 games will ensure another Premier League survival fight after Gary Caldwell headed them ahead just before the break.
The skipper rose above David Wheater in the 43rd minute to meet Jean Beausejour's left-wing corner and head the ball past a helpless Adam Bogdan into the back of the net from six yards.
However, the hosts hit back thanks to a stunning strike by Mark Davies after 67 minutes.
Bogdan's long punt downfield struck David Ngog's back before falling kindly into the path of Davies who thumped a stunning left-foot shot into the top corner.
But James McArthur won the game for the visitors nine minutes later after Victor Moses' right-footed shot was parried by Bogdan, the midfielder was on hand to tuck the ball into an empty net for only his second Latics goal.
Athletic had Ali Al Habsi to thank after the goalkeeper produced a late wonder save to deny Trotters new boy Ryo Miyaichi a debut goal.
Roberto Martinez's men still sit at the bottom of the pile, but the result drew the Latics back into the pack. They are now just a point behind their Lancashire neighbours and, more importantly, two points off safety.
The visitors grew in confidence and Moses came close to grabbing an early lead when he skipped between two defenders before ramming a rising shot into the side netting.
Zat Knight scooped a shot over the bar for Bolton and Franco Di Santo screwed a long-range effort over for Wigan in response but scrappy build-up play was letting both sides down.
In what was plainly a scrap between strugglers, Wigan were having much the better of possession and Jordi Gomez was not far from getting his head to a Beausejour cross.
Pinned back in their own half, Coyle's men were frankly dismal, and it was only Wigan's chronic lack of a final ball that was keeping the home side level.
The visitors finally broke the deadlock two minutes from the break when Beausejour sent in a corner from the left and Caldwell rose to nod home unchallenged.
Forced to go on the offensive, Coyle replaced Petrov with the on-loan Arsenal teenager Miyaichi at half-time, but it was the visitors who continued to press forward.
More dithering in the Bolton backline let in Emmerson Boyce to strike a low shot just wide of Bogdan's right-hand post when he should have done better.
Di Santo was denied a penalty when he fell under Knight's challenge in the box and Boyce also had a loud appeal rejected after tussling with Miyaichi.
Wigan came close to extending their lead on the hour when Moses skipped past Sam Ricketts and fed McArthur, who drove low straight at Bogdan.
After promising work from Miyaichi, Bolton finally crafted their first shot on target in the 61st minute when Wheater's long, low drive was gathered by Ali Al Habsi.
And they snatched an equaliser six minutes later when Bogdan's long goal-kick deflected off Ngog and fell to Davies, who crashed his left-foot shot into the top corner.
Miyaichi had his moments in the inevitable storm that followed, but Bolton paid the price for more sloppy defending in the 76th minute as Wigan regained the lead.
Ricketts' attempted back header gave Moses a clear run on goal on the left and when his shot struck Bogdan it rebounded to McArthur to follow up into the net.
The impressive Miyaichi came close to grabbing a dramatic equaliser on 85 minutes when he lashed a low shot goalwards but was brilliantly denied by Al Habsi.