Wigan 3 Reading 2: Gomez hat-trick spares Al Habsi blushes for horror gaffe
16:56 GMT, 24 November 2012
17:14 GMT, 24 November 2012
Hat-trick hero Jordi Gomez spared goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi's blushes with an injury-time winner to earn Wigan three much-needed points against Reading at the DW Stadium.
The Royals arrived in the north west fresh from their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season against Everton and took the lead in the 35th minute through Sean Morrison's first top-flight goal.
But Gomez turned things around in the second half with a brace and that looked to be that until, 10 minutes from time, Al Habsi dropped a half-blocked shot from Hal Robson-Kanu on to the bar and the ball then hit him and went in.
Point made: Reading's Sean Morrison celebrates after his opener but it wasn't enough
WIGAN: Al Habsi, Boyce, Ramis (Lopez 48), Figueroa, Stam, McCarthy, Jones (McArthur 82), Beausejour, Gomez, Kone, Maloney (Si Santo 45). Subs not used: Pollitt, McManaman, Boselli, Fyvie.
Goals: Gomez 58, 68, 90+2
Booked: McCarthy, Jones
READING: Federici, Gunter, Morrison, Gorkss, Shorey, Robson-Kanu, Leigertwood, Tabb (McCleary 72), McAnuff, Le Fondre, Roberts (Pogrebnyak 83). Subs not used: Taylor, Mariappa, Hunt, Harte, Cummings.
Goals: Morrison 35, Al Habsi 80 (og)
Referee: Howard Webb
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It was a hammer blow for Roberto
Martinez's injury-hit side, but Gomez had the last laugh two minutes
into added on time to lift the Latics five points clear of the
Wigan were forced into three changes,
with captain Gary Caldwell, midfielder Ben Watson and striker Franco Di
Santo all injured, although the latter was fit enough for a place on
After defeats by West Brom and
Liverpool Wigan needed to get back on track and they should have been in
front in the 12th minute when Jean Beausejour swung in a lovely cross
on to the head of the unmarked Arouna Kone, but he somehow headed wide
with Adam Federici beaten.
Reading had offered little in attack, but they began to look a threat when they sent balls into Wigan's box.
Adam Le Fondre was the match-winner
last weekend with both goals against Everton and he twice headed just
wide, first from Nicky Shorey's corner and then a Jobi McAnuff cross.
Diving in: Shaun Maloney (right) challenges Reading's Jobi McAnuff
Wigan were still in the ascendancy,
though, and Kone missed another chance in the 24th minute when he tried
to walk the ball in but a combination of Federici and Shorey clearing
off the line denied the Ivorian.
At the other end Reading won a
free-kick when Robson-Kanu was fouled by James McCarthy, who was booked,
25 yards out and Al Habsi gratefully grasped the ball at the second
time of asking after it looked like Shorey's effort had gone through
And the full-back was the architect
when the visitors did take the lead in the 35th minute. Robson-Kanu was
felled by McCarthy again, this time on the left byline, and Shorey's
curling free-kick was powered home by Morrison.
Defending high balls has been a real
weakness for Wigan and it would have been a source of huge frustration
for Martinez that none of his players attacked the ball.
Heading for Reading: Morrison (top right) powers home the opening goal
And the frustration grew as they
missed another great chance in the 39th minute, this time Gomez jinking
his way into the box but shooting over with only Federici to beat.
Di Santo came on for Shaun Maloney at
half-time and the Argentinian almost scored with his first touch after
he was played through by Gomez, but Federici tipped the shot round the
It was a lively start to the second
half and, after the ever-busy Le Fondre saw a shot well blocked by Ivan
Ramis eight yards out, Gomez volleyed over the bar at the other end.
Rising high: Morrison (centre) gives Ali Al Habsi no chance
Going down: David Jones (top) clatters into Reading's Jay Tabb
There were yet more problems for
Martinez when Ramis was forced off to be replaced by Adrian Lopez, but
in the 58th minute they were level.
Di Santo was again involved,
crossing from the left, and, although Federici saved Gomez's first
effort, he could not hold it and the Spaniard tucked away the rebound.
Wigan were on a roll and Federici
again spilled a shot from Ronnie Stam, but this time he pounced on the
loose ball just in time.
It takes two to tango: James McCarthy (left) and Jason Roberts try to keep their balance
Reading were playing on the break
now, but they were almost back in front in the 62nd minute when
Robson-Kanu crossed and Le Fondre flicked a header towards the corner
only for Al Habsi to fling out a hand.
Wigan had not recovered a single
point from losing positions all season, but they thought they were ahead
when Beausejour crossed for Di Santo to tap in only for a linesman's
flag to cut short the celebrations.
They did not have to wait long,
though, as in the 68th minute Beausejour sent in another peach of a
cross and Gomez grabbed his second with a textbook diving header.
It was Gomez's first Premier League
start since his red card at Sunderland in September and he was certainly
making a case for more regular inclusion.
make mine a double: Jordi Gomez (right) dives to head home Wigan's second
The most important thing was the
Wigan were on course for three points, but that all changed in the 80th
minute with one of the most bizarre goals of the season.
Robson-Kanu's shot spun high up into
the air off a Wigan defender but Al Habsi seemed in control as the ball
dropped back down.
However, a combination of the spin
and the wet ball contributed to it slipping through the keeper's grasp,
hitting the bar before going in off the Oman international.
Gomez almost grabbed his hat-trick
goal moments later only to see his shot deflected just wide, but the
Spaniard did have the last word in injury time when he drilled in a
pull-back from Kone, much to the relief of his goalkeeper.
Jordi joy: Gomez (right) celebrates with James McArthur after completing his hat-trick