Former Liverpool striker Ngog fires Wanderers to a vital victory leaving local rivals searching for a return to formWIGAN, U.K. – Bolton Wanderers recorded their first win since the opening day of the season as they beat local rivals Wigan Athletic 2-1 at the DW Stadium.
An own goal from Gary Caldwell was cancelled out by a wonder strike from Mohamed Diame but it David Ngog and Chris Eagles who earned Bolton all three points and local bragging rights.
Both sides made three changes to their lineups following defeats in their last outings – Wigan welcomed back Antolin Alcaraz and Steve Gohouri to its defense in place of Maynor Figueroa and Ronnie Stam. The Paraguayan started at the center of defence alongside Gary Caldwell while Gohouri lined up at left back. David Jones was given his first start in midfield in place of Patrick Van Aanholt with Franco Di Santo continuing on his own upfront.
Bolton welcomed back experienced goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen after Adam Bogdan conceded five against Chelsea in its last outing. David Wheater also earned a recall for Gretar Steinsson with Dedryck Boyata moving to right back. The other change saw Chris Eagles restored to the Trotters' midfield in place of the experienced Ricardo Gardner.
The visitors began the game on the front foot and created chances off the bat, which would soon pay – in the fourth minute, Bolton took the lead thanks to a Caldwell own goal. The visitors broke on the counter attack with Pratley, who released Eagles on the right and his low cross into the penalty area was met by both Nigel Reo-Coker and Caldwell, with the ball squirming into the net off the Wigan captain.
Wigan started to create some chances after the goal, but could not find the target, though Bolton continued to produce the more incisive soccer. An excellent throw from Jussi Jaaskelainen ended up with Martin Petrov serving up Kevin Davies, whose effort was well-saved by Ali Al-Habsi, while Caldwell blocked shots from Davies and Ngog.
Wigan was much slower in its build up play but that paid off with five minutes of the half to go as Diame struck a 25 yard wonder goal to bring his side level. Ben Watson made a surging run from the halfway line and holding off the tackle of Pratley, he laid the ball off to Diame who curled his shot past Jaaskelainen.
Roberto Martinez will have hoped his side could have held onto half time but a mistake by Gohouri in the final minute of the half gifted Bolton a second goal. Davies dispossessed the defender on the Bolton right and rolled the ball into Ngog, who took on Caldwell and fired past Al Habsi for his first Wanderers goal.
Unsurprisingly Martinez made changes at half time and the unfortunate Gohouri was replaced by Maynor Figueroa at half time, Hugo Rodallega also came on for the Latics in place of Watson.
The subs allowed Wigan to make a much brighter start to the second half, but Rodallega and Victor Moses could not break through for the home side, looking more and more desperate for an equalizer.
Wigan was indeed much improved in the second half but they were very lucky not to go further behind in a crazy three minutes in the 70th minute. Bolton created three chances that could have easily resulted in them extending their lead. Boyata headed wide from point blank range while Al-Habsi fumbled a weak shot from Eagles. Bolton also threw away a golden chance to pad its lead when Caldwell pushed Boyata in the penalty area, only to see Davies hit the resulting spot kick straight at Al-Habsi.
However, Eagles sealed the win the closing minutes with a mazy run past two defenders before calmly rolling the ball past Al Habsi to seal all three points.