Nedum & Sylvinho see action in 4-3 win at Robin Park
Nedum Onuoha saw action for the first time since pre-season, and at left-back Sylvinho made his first appearance since his arrival in late August. His last competitive match had been in Barcelona’s Champions League final victory over United in Rome – there cannot be too many who have played at the Olympic Stadium and Robin Park in consecutive games!
The former Arsenal man looked right at home, and he did not have to wait too long to see City open the scoring. Just six minutes were showing when after the referee played an advantage, the ball arrived with James Poole who moved into the area, got the ball onto his right foot and then curled it just past the left hand of Jurgen Macho into the back of the net.
Wigan were not without a good deal of experience in their ranks, and it was a Premier League striker who twice went close to scoring around the 25 minute mark. Daniel de Ridder fed Marlon King on the edge of the box, his curling effort whistling just over the bar. A minute later he forced Gunnar Nielsen into action, the young keeper from the Faroe Islands dropping to his right to beat away the striker’s shot that came in from a tight angle.
City took advantage of these missed opportunities to double the lead on the half-hour, Robbie Mak taking advantage of confusion in Wigan’s defence to latch onto the ball and drill it in low past Macho’s left hand.
Olivier Kapo, no doubt trying to make an impression having not played for the senior side this season, took aim from just outside the area before the break, but the shot was always rising and Nielsen could watch it go over his bar in safety. Amaya should have done better on 40 minutes, putting a free header from close range well over, and at the other end David Ball also rued putting a decent headed chance wide in stoppage time.
City’s two-goal lead only lasted five minutes into the second half, Daniel de Ridder collecting the ball just inside the box before squeezing underneath Nielsen to reduce the arrears by one.
But it did not stay that way for too long, as five minutes later David Ball continued his goal-scoring run to make it 3-1. Despite being under little pressure, the Wigan defence dithered once again, and the lively striker pounced, moving into the box and placing the ball out of Macho’s reach.
Scorer turned provider three minutes afterwards, Ball’s cute turn in the area presenting James Poole with an easy chance for his second of the night.
Sylvinho and Nedum Onuoha came off with 64 minutes gone, both receiving generous applause as they made their way to the dressing room, but two minutes later the home side had pulled one back when McCarthy caught it on the half-volley from 20 yards out, the ball flying past Nielsen’s left hand.
Wigan continued to press and with two minutes left Bouaouzan got enough on the ball to help it over the line and ensure a nervy end to the match. However City had all the pressure in stoppage time, with three corners eating up the seconds to eventually see our reserves through to their third straight win.
Wigan: Macho, Routledge, Mustoe, Buxton (Langley 71), Amaya, McCarthy, De Ridder, M’Bami, King, Kapo, Bouaouzan.
Unused subs: Holt, Nicholls, McMananaman, Cwyka.
City: Nielsen, Vidal, Sylvinho (Cunningham 64), Boyata, Onuoha (Smith 64), Kay, Mak, Ibrahim, Ball, Poole, Moore.
Unused subs: T Johansen,Benali, Redshaw.