Wigan Athletic need wins, and got an impressive one with a 2-1 victory over high-flying West Ham United at the DW Stadium. Dominant throughout, the hosts got goals from Ivan Ramis and James McArthur to go 2-0 up, and were solid enough to survive a late reply from James Tomkins.
The Latics got off to the best possible start when they went 1-0 up within ten minutes. James Collins conceded a corner and then didn't really bother marking anyone, leaving Ivan Ramis completely open in the centre. Jean Beausejour's delivery picked out the defender, who met the ball with a very un-defendery finish, lashing a left-footed volley past Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the back of the net to give the hosts an early lead.
The closest the Hammers came to replying was a curling effort in the 22nd minute from the right boot of Kevin Nolan, who was fed in the penalty area after Andy Carroll was given far too much space at the top of the box. but his effort was weak and easily saved by Ali Al-Habsi. It was pretty obvious that Wigan were the team in the ascendancy, and Carroll was forced into a good block from Beausejour to keep the deficit to one ten minutes later.
The hosts kicked it up several notches after halftime loomed, putting together some lovely patches of play. Arouna Kone and Franco di Santo repeatedly combined to tear open the West Ham defence, but some last ditch tackles denied both just as they looked set to pull the trigger. Given those chances, Wigan should probably have been 2-0 up.
But James McArthur made up for those wasted chances just after the interval. The visitors' defence was in complete disarray, allowing Shaun Maloney to latch onto a low cross and knock it back to the unmarked McArthur. The midfielder made no mistake from the top of the box, guiding the ball past Jaaskelainen to make it 2-0 and more or less ending the game as a contest.
Sure, there was some moments for West Ham, but they never really looked likely to seriously threaten the lead, and about the most interesting thing that happened near Ali Al-Habsi in the early stages of the second half was when Modigo Maiba was booked for a blatant dive. The Hammers did eventually find their way onto the scoresheet, but it was too little too late when Tomkins blasted home in the 93rd minute.
Roberto Martinez won't mind conceding a consolation goal -- his team came away with three vital points as the Latics move up towards midtable.