Wigan 1 Middlesbrough 0

  • By: Ross Heppenstall, PA Sport
  • Last Updated: October 8 2012, 19:04 BST

Antoine Sibierski was on target as Wigan gave new manager Chris Hutchings a victory to savour.

Riggott and Heskey go up for a header.

Summer recruit Sibierski struck in the 55th minute with a predatory effort to claim his second goal in as many games.

Apart from his goal, the former Manchester City striker led the line alongside Emile Heskey before being replaced because of an injury in the 66th minute.

Titus Bramble, a second summer arrival, excelled at the back - while another home debutant, midfielder Jason Koumas, proved his top-flight credentials with a skilful and energetic display.

Boro created little, and the only solace for manager Gareth Southgate was the sight of Mido in the directors' box - the Egyptian striker is on the brink of finalising a £6.8million move from Tottenham.

Ayegbeni Yakubu - who remains a target for Everton, Portsmouth and West Ham - was sluggish, and £2million recruit Jeremie Aliadiere also offered little.

Yet in the eighth minute the visitors cut Wigan apart with a delightful move down the right when Aliadiere released Tuncay Sanli with a perfectly-weighted flick.

Tuncay advanced forward at pace and whipped in a vicious low cross to the near post which forced Paul Scharner to clear for a corner.

But it was Wigan, with Sibierski beginning to link effectively with Heskey, who asked the more searching questions.

Heskey met a deep free-kick from Bramble in the 21st minute, and his excellent header gave Denny Landzaat a shooting opportunity from 14 yards.

The Latics midfielder took a touch before striking a right-foot volley just wide of Mark Schwarzer's left-hand post.

Boro almost engineered their own downfall shortly before the half-hour when a dreadful pass from Julio Arca went straight to the feet of Landzaat, who swiftly advanced before dragging a low shot wide of the far post.

Barely a minute later, Arca displayed his creative qualities with a delicate through ball to Stewart Downing in Wigan's six-yard box.

The England winger struck a low shot goalwards, but Mario Melchiot produced a brilliant block to stop a certain goal.

Five minutes later Koumas orchestrated another sweeping move which saw him feed Antonio Valencia down the right.

His low cross across the face of goal was greeted by Heskey's side-footed effort - but Boro defender Chris Riggott did just enough to divert the ball to safety.

Koumas then warmed Schwarzer's hands from distance with a low strike, before a frustrated Tuncay earned the first yellow card of the match for a cynical foul on Kevin Kilbane seven minutes from the interval.

Wigan's momentum continued to build after the break, and it came as no surprise to anyone when Sibierski made the breakthrough in the 55th minute.

After Schwarzer failed to hold Valencia's diagonal low shot from the right, the Frenchman edged ahead of Andrew Davies to stab the ball home.

Boro's response was impressive, Downing firing narrowly wide two minutes later and then striking the post with a low shot in the 63rd minute.

But Wigan dominated as the half wore on and should have added to their tally. A stream of half-chances were spurned, with Heskey firing wide from 20 yards in injury-time.


Wigan Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Granqvist, Kilbane,Valencia, Scharner, Landzaat, Koumas, Heskey,Sibierski (Aghahowa 66).

Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Hall, Cotterill, Skoko.

Booked: Kilbane.

Goals: Sibierski 55.

Middlesbrough Schwarzer, Davies, Riggott, Wheater, Taylor,Sanli (Johnson 71), Boateng, Arca, Downing,Aliadiere (Cattermole 87), Yakubu (Lee 65).

Subs Not Used: Jones, Hines.

Booked: Sanli, Johnson, Arca.

Att: 14,007

Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).