Wigan Athletic fans were in celebratory mood on Sunday afternoon as their team completed an incredible end to the season. Latics ended the season as the form team in the Premier league with a seventh win in nine games and in the process finished fifteenth in the table.
In bright sunshine at the DW stadium they made a confident start with centre back Gary Caldwell marauding forward and then Jean Beausejour’s cross being scrambled away by Christophe Berra.
The club had arranged for the fans to celebrate an eighth season on the top flight with applause on eight minutes, but just as some people had predicted, the applause backfired on the home team when Wolves winger Matt Jarvis incredibly curled the ball into the top corner of the Wigan net.
But Latics were not going to let Wolves spoil the party and pressed for a quick equaliser and on 13 Minutes Franco Di Santo managed to shoot through Stephen Hunt’s legs from eighteen yards out to restore parity.
A great shot from twenty-five yards by Shaun Maloney was turned around the post by Dorus de Vries and from the resulting corner Emmerson Boyce rose majestically at the back post to head home.
Wigan continued the half as the dominant outfit with Wolves unable to cope with their slick passing and movement. Once again Shaun Maloney was a constant threat and his introduction into the team for the latter part of the season has been the catalyst for the team’s strong revival.
Wolves had an early chance in the second half when Kevin Doyle’s header was well saved by Al-Habsi. But Wigan were soon increasing the pressure with two good attempts of their own with Maloney’s shot saved by substitute keeper Carl Ikeme after a through-ball from substitute Albert Crusat, who also drove a shot into the side-netting having been put through by Di Santo.
Soon afterwards a great diagonal ball by Maynor Figueroa was knocked down by substitute Hugo Rodallega for Emmerson Boyce who triumphantly blasted the ball into the top corner of the Wolves goal.
Boyce is Wigan’s longest-serving player and his two goals were a fitting reward for such an excellent servant. He may even have got a hat trick but typically and unselfishly he crossed for Rodallega but unfortunately the danger was cleared.
Wolves did manage a consolation goal on 86 minutes from substitute Steven Fletcher after sloppy play by Adrian Lopez. But it was not enough for Wolves who now slip into the Championship after a traumatic season.
Wigan march on into an eighth successive season in the top flight, when they were promoted in 2005 few could have dreamed that they would still be in the Premier League in 2012.
Great credit should go to all the Latics managers and players during this period, but particular credit should go to Roberto Martinez who has maintained Wigan’s status while producing some superbly attractive football and magnificent results against the league’s top teams.