- Wigan vs Aston Villa

Sunday 19 May 2013 | DW Stadium | Referee: Neil Swarbrick | Attendance 23,001

Wigan
  • Emmerson Boyce (20)
  • Nathan Baker (45+3 OG)
Wigan
2 - 2
Aston Villa
  • Darren Bent (5)
  • Ron Vlaar (60)
Aston Villa

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Match report

For matchday photos, scroll to Photostream above left; click on the statistics tab for stats; manager reaction below

Wigan Athletic's eight-year stay in the Barclays Premier League ended with an entertaining 2-2 home draw against Aston Villa.

Darren Bent gave the visitors an early lead before an Emmerson Boyce header and Nathan Baker's own goal handed Wigan the advantage at half-time, but a fantastic volley from Ron Vlaar ensured both sides came away from the game with a share of the points.

Wigan made three changes from the side that lost to Arsenal on Tuesday. Ali Al Habsi replaced Joel Robles in goal, while Ben Watson and Roman Golobart came in for the injured duo of Antolin Alcaraz and Callum McManaman. For Villa, Bent came in for the suspended Christian Benteke and Matthew Lowton replaced Eric Lichaj in defence.

Al Habsi parried an early Joe Bennett free-kick but he was beaten by Bent as early as the fifth minute. Gabriel Agbonlahor drove forward from midfield and released the striker, who cut back inside on his right foot and slid a low effort beyond Al Habsi which deflected in off the base of the left-hand upright.

Wigan recovered from the early setback and equalised after 20 minutes, when the ball was worked out to Roger Espinoza on the left-hand side and his excellent cross was strongly met by Boyce, who climbed above Bennett and headed beyond Brad Guzan.

Shaun Maloney went close for Wigan shortly before half-time but his free-kick from just outside the box was well held by Guzan diving to his right. Al Habsi then had to be alert to tip away Agbonlahor's teasing cross as Bent looked ready to pounce inside the six-yard box.

The Latics took the lead in fortunate fashion in first-half stoppage time. A Maloney corner from the left caused all manner of problems for the Villa defence and Ashley Westwood's clearance from Watson's effort rebounded off Baker's foot and into the net.

Watson saw a low shot from distance comfortably held by Guzan early in the second half before the Villa goalkeeper had to rush from his line to thwart James McCarthy following a poor defensive header from Vlaar.

Boyce then wasted two opportunities to score his second of the game and extend Wigan's lead. His weak header from Espinoza's cross was blocked by Bennett and Boyce could only fire the rebound off the top of Guzan's crossbar and behind to safety.

Wigan were made to pay soon after as Vlaar found the net with a strike of real quality. The central defender brought down Bennett's floated free-kick before swivelling and volleying beyond the helpless Al Habsi from the edge of the area.

Agbonlahor almost put Villa ahead two minutes later but his curling effort was just too high following a swift counter attack from Guzan's long throw.

James McArthur almost handed Wigan the lead with 10 minutes remaining but his controlled volley from Espinoza's lofted pass cannoned back off the crossbar and away to safety, while Golobart's delicate chip in stoppage time was just too high.

Villa, who for so long flirted with relegation themselves, finish 15th, five points clear of 18th-placed Wigan.

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez: "We'll enjoy tomorrow and then we'll sit down with the chairman [Dave Whelan to discuss my future]. The football club is in a fantastic position whatever happens. It's something to be looking forward to the future. Wigan Athletic is extremely bright and there will be great times ahead. For long spells we were dominant [against Aston Villa] and our movement and attacking play was outstanding. The one shot they had on target they scored and that's why we are where we are.

"I'm just so proud and delighted that they've been able to show what they can show in the other tournament and winning the FA Cup is an incredible achievement. I think it was a reflection of why we haven't been able to get that consistency at the back. I thought we created enough chances to win the game comfortably, but clearly that was the sign of the season."

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "I've said before we've been playing really well and we're getting better and better. The lads that are new at the club are starting to get a grip with it. The fans have been brilliant. I've got nothing but thanks to say for the Aston Villa supporters because they've been incredible for us. During Christmas time, they could have easily turned on us but they stuck with us because they could see what we were doing.

“You have to improve and there will be some changes there. We want to keep evolving the club and moving forward. It's been really hard, but I've loved it [his first season at Villa Park]. There is a huge pressure being the manager of this football club but I've loved it.As I've said before we're in a transitional period, we've developed it. The biggest yardstick has been the crowd because they can see that something is happening."

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Fan Rating

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Line-up All Fans BFR
26. Ali Al-Habsi - -
25. Roman Golobart - -
17. Emmerson Boyce - -
33. Paul Scharner - -
18. Roger Espinoza - -
8. Ben Watson - -
14. Jordi Gómez - -
10. Shaun Maloney - -
4. James McCarthy - -
16. James McArthur - -
2. Arouna Koné - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
20. Fraser Fyvie - -
11. Angelo Henríquez - -
9. Franco Di Santo - -
44. Eduard Campadabal - -
28. Daniel Redmond - -
27. Jordan Mustoe - -
1. Joel Robles - -
Line-up All Fans BFR
22. Brad Guzan - -
27. Joe Bennett - -
32. Nathan Baker - -
34. Matthew Lowton - -
4. Ron Vlaar - -
16. Fabian Delph - -
18. Yacouba Sylla - -
15. Ashley Westwood - -
9. Darren Bent - -
26. Andreas Weimann - -
11. Gabriel Agbonlahor - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
10. Charles N'Zogbia - -
21. Jordan Bowery - -
1. Shay Given - -
8. Karim El Ahmadi - -
38. Gary Gardner - -
31. Chris Herd - -
24. Simon Dawkins - -

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