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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

Wigan 1-0 Hull

By Mandeep Sanghera

Wigan midfielder Ben Watson (left) celebrates with team-mate Mario Melchiot after his winner against Hull
Watson (left) celebrates with team-mate Melchiot after his winner against Hull

Wigan moved up to seventh in the Premier League after Ben Watson's goal gave them victory over Hull.

Watson chipped in a shot late on following keeper Matt Duke's weak punch from a long Mario Melchiot throw.

The goal rewarded Wigan for their efforts after they had dominated most of the game and seen Maynor Figueroa and Hugo Rodallega hit the woodwork.

Manucho had a header saved in a rare chance for Hull, who eventually succumbed to the Wigan pressure.

The victory was little more than Wigan deserved and their desire to challenge for a potential European berth proved the greater driving force compared to Hull's attempts to stop getting sucked deeper into the relegation dogfight.

Now we must kick on - Bruce

Hull lacked intensity and urgency, while only the home side's lack of a ruthless streak in front of goal kept matters level for so long.

The visitors were nearly caught out as early as the second minute when a Figueroa cross was caught up in the wind and almost embarrassed Duke, whose blushes were saved by the crossbar.

It was the first of a number of close calls for Hull as the triumvirate of midfielder Paul Scharner and strikers Rodallega and Mido proved a constant menace.

Scharner acted as the conduit between attack and defence as he utilised his team continually catching Hull out in possession to set his front two on to the visitors defence.


Rodallega's awareness twice set up scoring opportunities for Mido only for the Egyptian to angle a drive over and then put a strike high from eight yards.

Scharner put Rodallega through on goal next but, despite the Colombian producing a true low strike, Duke managed to block his effort to safety.

Charles N'Zogbia's pace was also upsetting Hull but the left winger was the victim of two crunching tackles which ruled him out of the game at half-time.

Hull eventually raised their game and nearly punished Wigan for lacking a clinical punch to their promising build up play.

Hull fell asleep - Brown

Manucho got on the end of a Dean Marney corner but his header was smartly saved by Kirkland in the keeper's first meaningful action of the match.

At the other end, Duke smothered at the feet of Watson at close range after Mido and Rodallega had combined to set up the midfielder.

Rodallega was a bundle of energy and the Colombian thought his efforts had brought him a goal when he met a Daniele de Ridder cross only for his header to hit the post.

The longer the game went on the more it seemed Hull would escape with a point but Watson atoned for his earlier miss to deservedly wrap up the points for Wigan.

Wigan manager Steve Bruce:
"The first half was one-way traffic to say the least.

"We had umpteen chances which we didn't take and that causes you a concern as we have been at that stage many times and you fear you won't get many more.

"But they stuck at it and got their reward because, for me, the better team won. Ben Watson scored his second goal in as many games and at £1.5m he looks a snip."

Hull manager Phil Brown:
"You can say it is cruel but our inexperience is something we have to learn from.

"There was a point, or three, to be had. First half we were disappointing in terms of the way we played.

"Second half, slowly but surely, we were coming into it. I'm disappointed with the manner in which we lost it."

Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa, Watson, Brown, Scharner (Kapo 77), N'Zogbia (De Ridder 46), Rodallega, Mido (Zaki 72).
Subs Not Used: Kingson, Pollitt, Edman, Cho.

Booked: Bramble.

Goals: Watson 84.

Hull: Duke, Ricketts, Zayatte (Folan 61), Turner, Dawson (Garcia 38), Mendy, Marney, Kilbane, Geovanni, Manucho, Fagan (Halmosi 82).
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Doyle, Barmby, France.

Booked: Ricketts, Mendy, Fagan.

Att: 17,689

Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Maynor Figueroa on 7.66 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Sunday's football photos
22 Mar 09 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
22 Mar 09 |  Premier League

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