Monday 23 April 2018

Gomez fires Latics to victory

Jordi Gomez, centre, celebrates scoring his second goal
Jordi Gomez, centre, celebrates scoring his second goal

Hat-trick hero Jordi Gomez spared goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi's blushes with an injury-time winner to earn Wigan three much-needed points in a 3-2 victory against Reading at the DW Stadium.

The Royals took the lead in the 35th minute through Sean Morrison's first top-flight goal. But Gomez turned things around in the second half with a brace and that looked to be that until, 10 minutes from time, Al Habsi dropped a half-blocked shot from Hal Robson-Kanu on to the bar and the ball then hit him and went in.

It was a hammer blow for Roberto Martinez's injury-hit side, but Gomez had the last laugh two minutes into added on time to lift the Latics five points clear of the relegation zone.

Wigan were forced into three changes, with captain Gary Caldwell, midfielder Ben Watson and striker Franco Di Santo all injured, although the latter was fit enough for a place on the bench.

Adam Le Fondre was the matchwinner last weekend with both goals against Everton and he twice headed just wide, first from Nicky Shorey's corner and then a Jobi McAnuff cross.

Shorey was the architect when the visitors did take the lead in the 35th minute. Robson-Kanu was felled by James McCarthy on the left byline and Shorey's curling free-kick was powered home by Morrison.

Di Santo came on for Shaun Maloney at half-time and Martinez was forced into another change early on in the second half, with Ramis being replaced by Adrian Lopez, but in the 58th minute they were level. Di Santo was involved, crossing from the left, and, although Federici saved Gomez's first effort, he could not hold it and the Spaniard tucked away the rebound.

Wigan had not recovered a single point from losing positions all season, but they thought they were ahead when Jean Beausejour crossed for Di Santo to tap in only for a linesman's flag to cut short the celebrations. They did not have to wait long, though, as in the 68th minute Beausejour sent in another peach of a cross and Gomez grabbed his second with a textbook diving header.

Wigan were on course for three points, but that all changed in the 80th minute with one of the most bizarre goals of the season. Robson-Kanu's shot spun high up into the air off a Wigan defender but Al Habsi seemed in control as the ball dropped back down. However, a combination of the spin and the wet ball contributed to it slipping through the keeper's grasp, hitting the bar before going in off the Oman international.

Gomez almost grabbed his hat-trick goal moments later only to see his shot deflected just wide, but the Spaniard did have the last word in injury time when he drilled in a pull-back from Arouna Kone, much to the relief of his goalkeeper.

Press Association

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