Wolves achieve away milestone
Striker Andy Keogh's header spoiled Wigan manager Roberto Martinez's 'homecoming' as Wolves outfought the hosts to win at the DW Stadium.
The Republic of Ireland international glanced a sixth-minute header in off a post, having shot against the same upright moments earlier. Keogh could also have had a penalty 11 minutes after half-time but was booked for diving after going down under Titus Bramble's challenge.
However, his goal was enough to give Mick McCarthy's side their first away victory in 30 Premier League matches. On their last appearance in the top flight in 2003/04 Wolves failed to win outside Molineux, losing 12 and drawing seven times.
Wolves fully deserved their win after catching their hosts cold from the opening whistle. After Jordi Gomez had blazed over Wayne Hennessey's weak punch from a second-minute Jason Koumas free-kick all the chances fell to the visitors.
They should have taken the lead in the fourth minute when Keogh, on the left of the area, cut back onto his right foot to curl a shot which rebounded back off the far post. However, he made up for it soon after by putting his side ahead with the help of the same upright.
Keogh rose above a static Paul Scharner to glance Nenad Milijas' left-wing free-kick past Chris Kirkland and in off the woodwork. Greg Halford should have made it 2-0 in the 15th minute when Keogh flicked on Milijas' corner but the unmarked midfielder ballooned the ball over from eight yards.
Gomez headed in Charles N'Zogbia's right-wing free-kick only to be flagged offside in a rare attack against a visiting side which had enjoyed all the early play. Wigan began to fight their way back and sprang into life in a two-minute spell late in the half as N'Zogbia had a shot deflected over, Gomez fired the resulting corner into a crowd of players and Bramble headed another corner wide.
In that same period N'Zogbia had their best chance of the game when he ran on to Hugo Rodallega's flick on only to shoot tamely at Hennessy. Wigan began the second half with much more purpose, Rodallega curling a free-kick at Hennessey after Koumas was fouled by Stearman having charged down a clearance.
However, 11 minutes in came a moment of controversy when referee Mick Jones booked Keogh for diving in the penalty area following a challenge from Bramble. Stearman was booked in the 72nd minute for going in late on N'Zogbia before Karl Henry produced an inch-perfect tackle in the penalty area to deny Scotland.
Wigan stepped up the pressure and Rodallega's first-time shot from Mario Melchiot's pass was deflected wide by Jody Craddock while substitute Jason Scotland's low cross evaded his Colombian team-mate and N'Zogbia. Another substitute Scott Sinclair headed Gomez's cross agonisingly wide at the far post and Scharner fired over in the last chances of the game as battling Wolves held on to record their first points of the season.
It left Wigan manager Martinez to work out how to find a way to get his side to turn their vastly superior second-half possession into clear-cut chances. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy felt his side fully deserved their 1-0 victory at Wigan.
"I'm delighted with that. Apart from the three points I thought, coming on the back of a defeat (2-0 at home to West Ham), we came here and played very well in the first half," said McCarthy.
"I thought it was a mature performance and having got the lead I would hardly say we were hanging on. We have had to defend the lead for a long time but we still have managed to create chances."
The victory was Wolves' first Premier League away win in 30 attempts and McCarthy said it was something of a relief. "We had a real disappointment on Saturday despite playing well so it feels pretty good at the minute to get an away win," added the Wolves boss.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez felt Saturday's surprise 2-0 victory at Aston Villa had taken more out of his players than he had realised.
He blamed their exertions at Villa Park for their sluggish start which handed the initiative to Wolves. "There were two different Wigans today. The first 25 minutes we paid the price of what has been a very demanding week for us," said the Spaniard.
"We had nine players on international duty and it was a very disruptive week and after putting in a great effort against Villa but today we paid the price. We were sloppy, we didn't have energy and we couldn't get hold of the game and Wolves took advantage."