Thursday 14 December 2017

County forget money blues by stifling Wigan

Hughes 26, Davies 41
Scotland 52, Watson 83

Jeremy Cross

NOTTS COUNTY might have been denied their moment of glory on the pitch, but the real battle continues to take place off it as they attempt to secure their immediate future.

Executive chairman Peter Trembling and director of football Sven-Goran Eriksson have been striving to secure the investment required to stave off a High Court winding-up order over unpaid tax which is due to be heard on Wednesday. It is understood Trembling is hopeful of announcing later today that two consortiums have agreed to join forces and pump in around £2m to ease the immediate problems. The full extent of the club’s debt remains a mystery, but Eriksson is said to be owed significant wages, along with the caterers and even the carpet cleaners.

At least the gloom was lifted for two hours as County threatened to produce a major shock against Roberto Martinez’s Premier League side. Lee Hughes rediscovered the form which once made him a regular scorer at a higher level to terrorise the Wigan defence.

He opened the scoring with his 20th goal of the season on 26 minutes before Ben Davies’ sublime free-kick doubled the advantage before halftime.

Wigan were deep in trouble but displayed the character required to spare their blushes in a pulsating second half. Jason Scotland pulled a goal back on 52 minutes before substitute Ben Watson headed an equaliser seven minutes from time.

A replay will be financially welcome for County, provided they are still trading of course, and Hughes believes it is Eriksson who is key to the club’s immediate future.

Hughes said: “Sven said that there were four investors watching the game and hopefully they liked what they saw. Sven leaving would be a massive loss. It’s surreal to see him here. We are still looking at him like he’s the England manager.”

Notts County (4-5-1): Schmeichel; Thompson, Lee, Hunt, Clapham; Westcarr (Hawley 87), Ravenhill (Rodgers 66), Bishop, Jackson, Davies; L Hughes. Substitutes not used: Hoult (gk), Edwards, Fairclough, Hamshaw, Akinbiyi.

Wigan Athletic (4-2-3-1): Stojkovic; Boyce, Amaya (Gohouri 46), Bramble, Figueroa; Diame, McCarthy; Gomez (Watson 69), Scotland, Sinclair (N’Zogbia 69); Rodallega. Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), Caldwell, Cywka, McManaman.

Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

Booked: Notts County: Hughes, Westcarr, Jackson.

Man of the match: Hughes.

Attendance: 9,073.

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