HAPPY HOME AT LAST FOR LATICS
Joy at the DW for boss Caldwell
GARY Caldwell hailed Wigan’s attitude after his maiden home match as manager saw his side secure their first win at the DW Stadium since August.
Former Charlton midfielder Dale Stephens cancelled out 21-year-old Tim Chow’s goal on his full home debut, but Latics skipper James Perch scored a priceless winner as they held onto their Championship status for another week at least.
And new Latics boss Caldwell reserved special praise for Chow who came through the Wigan academy and set them on their way to a first Championship win in seven games.
“I thought their attitude was first class,” said the former Scotland defender, who took over from Malky Mackay earlier this month.
“Their desire and commitment to go and win the game was great to see and gives me great hope for the future.
“The second goal was just desire and eagerness to get a goal.
“All we can do is win our games. I said that from day one and that’s all we can do.
“This was a big win because it was the first game at home. We hadn’t won for so long, so to get this one was important for confidence going into next week against Wolves.
“When Chow’s opportunity came, he didn’t disappoint anyone. I thought he showed great energy, which we knew he would give, he tackled, he worked for the team.”
Albion could have taken a ninth-minute lead after Stephens broke to meet Danny Holla’s corner but the midfielder fired just over.
Gaetan Bong’s low 23rd-minute left-wing cross evaded James McClean but found Jermaine Pennant who swiveled to trickle an effort wide.
Youngster Chow put Wigan ahead after rising highest to produce a clinical header from Pennant’s 26th-minute cross.
Brighton nearly drew level from the restart after Beram Kayal’s shot was expertly pushed onto the post by a diving Scott Carson.
Just before the break, Pennant robbed Greg Halford in possession and the ball broke for McClean who was denied by an onrushing David Stockdale. The Seagulls drew level when Holla’s 55th-minute corner was met by an unmarked Stephens, who sidefooted home with the goal gaping.
Kazenga Lua Lua burst into life with a 57th-minute run to fire at goal and force Carson to deflect the effort wide, before going oneon-one from Kayal’s 66th-minute flick-on but shot just off target.
The home side responded through Bong, whose low 77th-minute cross found Kim Bokyung who could only fire into the side netting.
And Wigan’s 82nd-minute winner came when Marc-Antoine Fortune outmuscled Halford to cross and the loose ball eventually fumbled through Stockdale’s gloves for Perch to hammer home from close range.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton said: “We’ve only got ourselves to blame because at 1-1 you can tell from the players, the feel from the players is that they’re buoyed by the fact that we’re back in it.
“We were very much in the ascendancy and looked like we could go and win the game.
“But when the game transfers and they have their moments, you’ve got to defend well.
“Whether it’s a team that’s at the bottom of the league or whether it’s a team that is at the top, you have to defend well and we haven’t defended well enough on that second goal.
“The two games we have left don’t come much harder than Watford and Middlesbrough, but that’s what it is and that’s the challenge.”
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