Ward on mark for Wolves in 'huge result' for McCarthy
Bolton 5 Stoke 0
These days the phrase 'must-win' is applied to every fixture contested by Wolves and Wigan.
At long last, after nine matches and 11 weeks, Wolves finally won one yesterday, Roberto Martinez's seemingly doomed side succumbing to an eighth consecutive defeat despite the heroics of goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
The result propelled Wolves to the dizzy heights of 13th place, while leaving Wigan marooned in bottom spot. In the history of the Premier League, no team has ever lost more than eight games in a row and avoided relegation.
Wigan, who were fortunate referee Lee Probert and his assistants failed to spot their already-booked Paraguayan captain, Antolin Alcaraz, spitting at Richard Stearman in the closing stages, initially looked the more composed team. However, within 32 seconds of Hugo Rodallega perpetrating a miss to rank alongside Fernando Torres' aberration at Old Trafford, they fell behind to Jamie O'Hara's goal, which was set up by Kevin Doyle.
Wigan levelled after Stephen Hunt bundled over Emmerson Boyce. Wayne Hennessey saved Ben Watson's weak penalty, but the ball rebounded obligingly for the midfielder to take his side's goal tally to a paltry seven this season.
David Edwards and Stephen Ward found a way past the acrobatic Al Habsi to plump up a two-goal cushion by the midway point in the second half.
"It's a huge result for us," said Mick McCarthy. "We've been struggling, so for us to get three points against one of our competitors at the bottom is a great result. It makes the world a lot shinier and happier." (© Independent News Service)
Bolton hammered Stoke at the Reebok to gain sweet revenge for last season's FA Cup semi-final defeat by the same opponents.
Ivan Klasnic and Chris Eagles both struck twice as struggling Bolton secured a win that could kick-start their troubled season. Captain Kevin Davies also got on the scoresheet as Bolton claimed the first points of their campaign on their home ground.
The visitors must have feared that it wouldn't be their day after just two minutes.
Referee Howard Webb penalised Begovic for catching a back pass after Glenn Whelan had lobbed the ball into his own area and Matthew Upson left it to the goalkeeper.
The Potters had barely had time to contest the decision before Klasnic grabbed the ball and a tapped a quick free-kick to Davies to roll into an unguarded net.