Rosler made to sweat it out
WIGAN boss Uwe Rosler admitted he lost “five years of my life” as this battle for a play-off spot on the south coast ended in a first home defeat in nine for Brighton.
James McArthur’s fine curler and Chris McCann’s power header either side of the break proved the difference before Brighton rallied in the closing stages, pegging one back through top-scorer Leonardo Ulloa.
Victory clearly meant a lot to the Latics’ boss, who punched the air in delight at the final whistle, before dedicating the points to Ben Watson, ruled out for the season in midweek with a double leg break.
“I would prefer not to go through that last 20 minutes very often and that cost me five years of my life,” said Rosler after their fourth successive win.
“I am delighted for the players and dedicate the win to Ben Watson, who went through an operation on Friday.
“The will power to win and not get beaten speaks volumes as his injury was tough to take.We had to adjust our style of play and tactically we weren’t up to speed, but our effort was enormous. We switched to three at the back and when we got the second, the crowd got edgy. What happened in the last 15 minutes was backs to the wall and we had lady luck on our side.”
As has been the norm at the Amex, all the early pressure came from Brighton, with Ulloa going closest with a towering header which went inches wide on 12 minutes.
The deadlock was broken by the visitors when McArthur intercepted a pass from Matthew Upson, breaking clear down the right before curling brilliantly across an outstretched Tomasz Kuszczak.
A minute later Brighton should have levelled when Stephen Ward cross found Dale Stephens, but his vicious shot crashed down off the bar from ten yards.
The opening half may have been indicative of Brighton’s season – bundles of creativity and crosses without converting – but Wigan could have made it two, Martyn Waghorn curling his effort just wide.
Four minutes into the secondhalf, with Wigan reverting to two wingbacks, Waghorn turned provider with an incisive cross, met by McCann’s unstoppable header from six yards.
It meant that Brighton had to score more than one goal at home for the first time since early December. The Seagulls continued to press and they were finally rewarded in the 79th minute when Orlandi’s deep cross saw Upson head down and Ulloa drive low past Ali Al Habsi. Oscar Garcia, the Brighton boss, rued his side’s lack of finishing but said it was the best first-half performance of the season.
“When you have more than 20 chances and score only one goal, then you can explain the game,” he said.
“We fully deserved to win and dominated the whole game and the only thing Wigan did better than us was to take their chances.
“We are trying to improve in the training sessions. Some players have the killer instinct and some don’t but I can take a lot of positives from this.We only need to be more clinical in front of goal.”
FIRST BLOOD: James McArthur puts Wigan ahead
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