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18:44 26th December 2010

No Christmas Cheer

Wolves 1 (Fletcher 87)

Wigan 2 (Rodallega 9, Cleverley 20)

There was little Christmas cheer at Molineux as Wolves spurned the chance of moving out of the relegation zone and instead slipped to the bottom of the Premier League following a disappointing home defeat against Wigan Athletic.

Mick McCarthy named an unchanged starting line up with the fit again Matt Jarvis taking a place on the bench.

Wigan kicked-off attacking the North Bank end and they could have been ahead after less than two minutes but James McArthur directed his free header tamely into the arms of Wayne Hennessey.

Wolves were soon threatening and after a Stephen Hunt corner was cleared, Antolin Alcaraz had to hook away a dangerous cross from Sylvan Ebanks- Blake.

But it was the visitors that made the breakthrough as they took a ninth minute lead. Ben Watson's corner was headed clear by Stephen Ward but Tom Cleverley returned the ball into the box finding Hugo Rodallega who netted with a shot on the turn as he fell.

Only a fine save from Ali Al Habsi prevented an instant response from Wanderers. Hunt fired a free-kick across the face of goal and Christophe Berra connected as he ran in only for Al Habsi to smother the ball on the line.

Ebanks-Blake volleyed over the angle after a George Elokobi long throw had been helped on, and Hennessey had to sprint from his line to save at Rodallega's feet after the striker had run onto McArthur's through ball.

But Wigan moved into a two goal advantage in the 20th minute. Rodallega picked out Cleverley and he drilled home a low shot through the legs of the advancing Hennessey.

Wolves should have had a penalty in the 23rd minute when Steve Gohouri clearly fouled Ward as he tried to reach Hunt's free-kick, but the appeals were ignored.

Moments later a piece of determination from Dave Edwards saw the midfielder delivering a cross that Hunt headed over at the far post.

Luck was against Wolves ten minutes before the break when they were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out. Nenad Milijaš took the kick and the ball took a deflection as it went through the wall completely wrongfooting Al Habsi.

The ball was heading for the far corner but as it bounced the keeper lifted his foot and, although he was lying face down, he managed to push it away.

In the minutes leading up to the break, Watson and then Alcaraz were booked - both for fouls on Ward. Alcaraz also survived a penalty appeal for hand ball as he attempted to clear.

Half-Time; Wolves 0 Wigan 2

Shortly after the resumption a long throw from Elokobi was the prelude to a scramble in the Wigan area but the ball wouldn't drop kindly for Ebanks-Blake and it was eventually booted clear.

After 55 minutes Jarvis went on in place of Edwards and he was soon delivering a cross that Ronnie Stam headed behind at the far post before Hunt could get a touch.

Wigan threatened through Cleverley whose rising drive was claimed by Hennessey before Charles N'Zogbia drifted past three defenders as he worked a shooting position for himself only to be fouled, virtually on the 18-yard line, by Ronald Zubar who was booked. Watson was too high with the resultant free-0kick.

Stephen Fletcher replaced Elokobi for the final 20 minutes shortly before Cleverley was booked for clattering into Jarvis.

Fletcher was off target with an overhead kick but he gave Wolves a glimmer of hope in the 87th minute when he drove the ball home after Ebanks-Blake had helped on Jarvis's centre.

There were three minutes of added time but it was Wigan that almost added to their tally as a close range effort from Mohamed Diame was deflected wide.

The crowd lifted the noise levels for a Hunt corner but the Latics defence held form and quickly cleared the danger.

Wolves: Hennessey, Zubar, Elokobi (Fletcher 70), Edwards (Jarvis 55), Berra, Stearman, Foley (capt), Milijaš, Ebanks-Blake, Ward, Hunt.

Unused subs: Hahnemann, Jones, Bent, Mujangi-Bia, Doherty.

Booking: Zubar (65 - foul).

Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, G. Caldwell (capt), Watson, N'Zogbia, Cleverley, McArthur, Rodallega, Diame, Stam.

Unused subs: Boselli, Pollitt, S. Caldwell, Gomez, De Ridder, McManaman, Robinson.

Bookings: Watson (38 - foul), Alcaraz (45 - foul), Cleverley (73 - foul).

Referee: M. Dean.

Attendance: 26,901.

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.