Wigan 0 Wolves 1: Keogh's strike rocks Martinez as McCarthy is off the mark
19 August 2009 08:13
Mick McCarthy has the scars to show just what an unforgiving place the Premier League can be, and last night his Wolves team were only too quick to prove the point to Roberto Martinez.
An opening day win at Aston Villa might have left Wigan's new manager thinking that life at the top was not so tough after all.
But Martinez had barely finished being officially introduced to Wigan's fans at their newly renamed DW Stadium when Andy Keogh struck the goal that condemned the Spaniard to his first defeat and gave Wolves an away win in the top-flight for the first time in a quarter of a century.
For McCarthy, who has had bad experiences at this level with Sunderland, it was a well-deserved tonic in the wake of Saturday's home defeat to West Ham.
'That was a real disappointment but we took the positives out of it and played really well,' said McCarthy. 'We've proved we can win in the Premier League and the sooner we did that the better because it's bloody difficult.
'From coming back in pre-season, Keogh has been outstanding. My abiding memory is of him walking off and our fans singing his name. I thought it was lovely.'
The Irishman had already given Wigan one warning, with a curling effort which beat goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and came back off the underside of the bar, when he put Wolves ahead inside six minutes.
The woodwork helped Keogh on this occasion as the impressive Nenad Milijas sent over a free-kick from the left and Keogh rose unmarked to meet it with a glancing header that deflected in off Kirkland's left-hand post.
Wigan did have the ball in the net soon afterwards, although Jordi Gomez was flagged offside before heading in Charles N'Zogbia's free-kick, and N'Zogbia wasted their best chance of the first half when he was put through on goal but scuffed his shot.
With his side outplayed at times in the first half and their fans drowned out by 4,500 travelling supporters, it was certainly not what Martinez had hoped for from his first official home game in charge.
It could have been worse 10 minutes after the restart when Keogh turned inside the box and went down under a challenge from Titus Bramble.
Replays clearly showed Bramble's boot had made contact with the striker, but referee Mick Jones harshly booked Keogh for diving.
A lucky escape for Wigan and it would have been even harsher on Wolves if substitute Scott Sinclair's late header had crept in, instead of inches wide.
'You saw two Wigans,' said Martinez. 'In the first 25 minutes we were sloppy, we didn't have energy or get hold of the game and Wolves took advantage.
'It would have been easy to throw in the towel, but I was pleased with the reaction in the second half and thought we did enough to level the game.'
There was more bad news for Martinez yesterday after he failed in a bid to sign midfielder Ferrie Bodde from his old club Swansea.
Martinez made a £4.5m offer. But Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins said: 'Not only have we rejected the bid, but it's an offer we wouldn't even think twice about considering.'
WIGAN (4-4-1-1): Kirkland 6; Melchiot 5, Bramble 5, Scharner 5, Figueroa 6; N'Zogbia 5, Thomas 6, Brown 5 (Scotland 62min), Koumas 5 (Sinclair 62) ; Gomez 6; Rodallega 6.
WOLVES (4-4-1-1): Hennessey 6; Stearman 5, Craddock 6, Mancienne 7, Ward 6; Halford 5 (Surman 65), Henry 6, Edwards 6, Jarvis 6; Milijas 8 (Jones 56); Keogh 7(Vokes 81).
Scorer: Keogh 6.
Booked: Stearman, Keogh, Edwards.
Man of the match: Nenad Milijas.
Referee: Mick Jones (Cheshire).