independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Wigan escape

Wigan 3
Reading 2

Jordi Gomez spared the blushes of Ali Al Habsi by completing a hat-trick in stoppage-time, when it appeared that a calamitous error by the Omani goalkeeper would cost Wigan a precious home win.





Al Habsi's own goal with 10 minutes remaining – a classic of its type as the ball slipped from his grasp, and then rebounded off the bar and his body and into the net – seemed to have gifted Reading a point in a game Wigan had dominated throughout, even though they trailed 1-0 at half-time.

But the Royals proved unable to capitalise on their good fortune, allowing Arouna Kone to break down the left and find Gomez with space and time to score his third. The Spaniard was recalled to the starting team in one of three changes by Roberto Martinez, but it was the introduction of Franco di Santo at half-time that seemed to lift Wigan, and unsettle Reading.

Wigan should have had an early goal as a visionary pass by their captain Ivan Ramis set Jean Beausejour free down the left to cross to an unmarked Arouna Kone. But the Ivorian, headed wide. Kone was then denied by Nicky Shorey's goal-line clearance in the 23rd minute, and Wigan also had two penalty claims turned down.

But Reading's greater physical presence was always a threat, especially from set pieces, and Wigan were made to pay for Kone's howler when Sean Morrison rose to meet Shorey's pinpoint free kick for his first goal of the season. Wigan took the lead when Gomez headed home a Beausejour cross. But thanks to Al Habsi, a rousing contest had a couple of late twists.

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