Ex-Red Devil is the hero late on

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Bar­rie White

WI­GAN in­terim boss Gra­ham Bar­row be­lieves the star qual­ity of Nick Pow­ell could be the spark to save their sea­son af­ter a last-gasp win over Rother­ham.

Pow­ell’s 97th-minute free­kick gave the Lat­ics the win af­ter Rother­ham twice led through Danny Ward and An­thony Forde, with Gabriel Ober­tan and Alex Gil­bey lev­el­ling.

But it was Pow­ell’s ex­plo­sive, though con­tro­ver­sial, free-kick – af­ter a fight be­tween him and Rother­ham goal­keeper Lewis Price – which sealed the points, and Bar­row be­lieves he was the only man to han­dle the pres­sure to score.

“Out of all the play­ers, he was the one I wanted on it and if I was a bet­ting man, I’d have put money on it,” said Bar­row.

“I don’t want peo­ple get­ting car­ried away as Nick’s had lim­ited train­ing. I know how to treat him and that’s the re­sponse you get if you treat him the right way.

“With him on the pitch, you’ve got a chance of win­ning the game.

“Ours are an hon­est bunch of lads and the best of their abil­i­ties – the star qual­ity – hasn’t been there all sea­son. But that’s what Nick can do.

“We had an of­fen­sive team be­cause we had to gam­ble. Be­ing level or be­hind, it’s no good to us.

“I only saw the first bit of the free-kick, but had turned away af­ter. Talk­ing to [Rother­ham goal­keep­ing coach] Mike Pol­litt they’re fum­ing with their keeper.”

Rel­e­gated Rother­ham took the lead on 29 min­utes with some neat play, with Dar­nell Fisher’s sharp pass slammed home by Ward, who atoned for an ear­lier miss.

But it sparked the Lat­ics into ac­tion and five min­utes later for­mer Manch­ester United man Ober­tan grabbed his first goal for the club with a com­posed fin­ish from eight yards to level pro­ceed­ings.

The Millers re­gained the lead on the hour with a howler from Jakob Hau­gaard as he failed to hold Forde’s weak left-footed shot from 20 yards.

Wi­gan lev­elled on 65 min­utes as Ober­tan fed Gil­bey on the counter and the for­mer Colchester man fired past Price.

Pow­ell was the match­win­ner, smash­ing home a 20-yard free­kick af­ter he and Price were both lucky to stay on the pitch.

The free-kick was given against Price for an off-the-ball foul – lead­ing to a bust-up with Pow­ell – and the stop­per was made to suf­fer when the for­mer Manch­ester United lashed home.

United boss Paul Warne was dis­ap­pointed to have not come away with a well-de­served point, but ad­mit­ted he didn’t see the Pow­ell ver­sus Price in­ci­dent.

Warne said: “From what I was told, my keeper kicked the ball and then it led to a ruckus.

“I don’t think the as­sis­tant saw it, did he? He never flagged. The fourth of­fi­cial never said any­thing to me and I wanted to speak to the of­fi­cials.

“I ac­tu­ally ap­pealed for a free-kick on my striker, think­ing, ‘Great, 2-2 and half-aminute to go with a point’.

“I don’t wish bad luck on us, but I just thought if there was a foot­balling god, this wouldn’t go in.

“But my team didn’t de­serve to lose so to come away with a de­feat in such cir­cum­stances is hard to take.

“The sad thing for us was scor­ing but not hang­ing on to the lead long enough.”

PIC­TURES: WhiteRosePho­tos

OBER AND OUT: Wi­gan for­ward Gabriel Ober­tan hits the equaliser

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