Premier League - Figueroa stuns Birmingham

Sat, 19 Mar 16:09:00 2011

Maynor Figueroa scored a stoppage time winner as Wigan came from behind to beat Birmingham 2-1 at the DW Stadium.

Match Highlights: Wigan 2

Liam Ridgewell opened the scoring for the visitors when he netted after six minutes, but Manchester United loanee Tom Cleverley levelled on 26 following great work by Emmerson Boyce.

Despite Wigan's second-half pressure, it looked like the hosts would have to settle for a point, but as time ran out, Cleverley found Figueroa on the edge of the box and the Honduran made no mistake to lash the ball past Ben Foster.

With both sides in the thick of the Premier League relegation quagmire, managers Roberto Martinez and Alex McLeish would have seen this proverbial six-pointer as the ideal springboard following poor runs of form.

The Latics went into the match having lost their last three, while the Blues’ Carling Cup triumph has been overshadowed by their slide down the table with just one point collected from a possible nine.

Both teams have had trouble finding the net this campaign and in what was expected to be a tense affair, it was the visitors who sprang an early surprise after six minutes.

Martin Jiranek headed the ball into Ridgewell's path and despite looking offside, he made no mistake to poke the ball past Ali Al-Habsi from close range.

Cameron Jerome almost added a second on 17 minutes only to be denied by Al-Habsi at the near post, but it was the Latics who netted the next goal against the run of play.

Ben Watson played a superb ball inside Sebastian Larsson and Boyce cut the ball back beyond the diving Foster for Cleverley to slide the ball home.

Jordan Mutch tried his luck from 25 yards with an effort that flew wide of Al-Habsi's post before James McCarthy's effort from five yards further out for Wigan was saved by Foster.

As the half drew to a close, N'Zogbia missed a gilt-edged chance from six yards but it was Larsson who came within a whisker of adding to the score when his free-kick crashed against the bar.

Birmingham were again handed a good opportunity to retake the lead shortly after the restart when Gary Caldwell brought down the onrushing Craig Gardner but instead of a Larsson bullet, a comedy free-kick routine ensued.

Watson should have done better with a free-kick that was straight down Foster's throat but despite Jerome forcing Al-Habsi into a smart save from a difficult angle, it was the Latics who looked the most likely to add to their tally.

Figueroa should have made it two on 62 minutes when he found the ball at his feet inside the box but only found the well-placed Foster, before a goalmouth scramble saw efforts from Conor Sammon and McCarthy blocked by the desperate Ridgewell.

Wigan sub and top scorer Hugo Rodallega had the ball in the net with 10 minutes to go only for referee Lee Probert to rule it out for the Colombian's clumsy push on Roger Johnson.

And when McCarthy's wayward effort flew way over Foster's bar, a point seemed to be on the cards, but Figueroa had the last word to send the DW crowd into raptures.

The victory sees the Latics remain at the bottom, but crucially, they are still in touch with the teams above them and move to within one point of the Midlanders, who slide into 19th and deep in trouble.

Ian Hare / Eurosport

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