ANDREW VORCE - Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Brad Friedel and Jay DeMerit each claimed major victories in their very different quests in a limited set of midweek action in England.
Wigan 1 - 2 Aston Villa
Brad Friedel was beaten once as Aston Villa held on to with a bit of luck to take all three points for the first time in March.
Wigan were the culprit to their own downfall, with James McCarthy putting Villa ahead with an own goal. The visitors were piling pressure on Wigan who were unable to cope, and McCarthy's miscued clearance struck off the wrong side of his foot and past his goalkeeper from eight yards out in the 25th minute.
Gary Caldwell had matters level just two minutes later, however, after flicking on a glancing header. Charles N'Zogbia did all of the hard work, whipping in a dangerous free kick that Caldwell put the faintest of touches on that beat Friedel at the far post.
James Milner was the hero, however, as another Wigan mistake was punished by Villa. Chris Kirkland came well out of his goal to punch clear, but the Wigan back line could only send it to the feet of Milner. Taking a touch to set himself up, the England hopeful let fly a daisy cutter through the forest of players in the box that left Kirkland blind sided.
Richard Dunne was booked for the visitors as Titus Bramble and Hugo Rodallega were booked for the Latics. Up next for Villa in their quest to take fourth spot, a Saturday tilt against the visiting Marcus Hahnemann and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Watford 2 - 1 Ipswich
Jay DeMerit and Watford claimed a vital three points over visiting Ipswich, while Devann Yao is still not in the full first team for the Tractor Boys.
Henri Lansbury proved to be the difference, sending warning shots with his free kick in the 30th second that ricocheted off of Ipswich's crossbar. Just seven minutes later he did it again, sending a 35 yard free kick over everybody, including keeper Brian Murphy, and into the back of the net.
Roy Keane was infuriated with his squads first half performance, and made his first change 20 minutes into the game taking out Owen Harvan to put in Lee Martin. Watford hit the post again moments after, with Murphy coming up big to keep Ipswich in it.
With 23 minutes gone in the second half, Ipswich fired back to bring things level. Grant Leadbitter's corner caused Watford difficulties, and the Hornets failed to clear it in time. Colback was the fastest to react and lashed it past Scott Loach for the equalizer.
Will Hoskins had the chance to bring it level moments later as John Eustace found him in front of goal, but it was to no avail. In the 76th minute Hoskins had another chance, and this time he did not waste it. Danny Graham flicked on his pass before Hoskins sent a laser from the edge of the area for the game winner.
John Eustace was the only player shown a yellow card, as they fought off the bottom dwellers below. Up next for the Hornets is an away trip to Cardiff City.
Frank Simek was on the bench in Sheffield Wednesday's 2-2 comeback victory over Preston North End.
Kenny Cooper remained on the bench as Plymouth won a last gasp victory over Bristol City by a 3-2 score.