AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was pleased that the Cherries extended their unbeaten run of form away to Premier League side Wigan on Saturday.
The Cherries 1-1 draw which puts them in the hat for the FA Cup fourth round draw this (Sunday) afternoon, was the seventeenth game without defeat for Eddie Howe’s side.
Over 2,700 AFC Bournemouth supporters made the trip north with just over 8,000 inside the DW Stadium for the game. With a third of the crowd backing the away side from one packed end and the Wigan fans sparsely filling the two stands along the side of the pitch, the atmosphere felt more like a home game for the Cherries rather than a trip to one of English footballs elite clubs.
Wigan made nine changes from their game against Manchester United, whilst Eddie Howe also made a number of changes to his side, out went first choice ‘keeper David James and strikers Lewis Grabban and Brett Pitman, whilst Richard Hughes also started in the holding role in central midfield.
With the Cherries adopting a 4-5-1 formation any neutrals in the ground might have expected Wigan to dominate possession, but that wasn’t the case, with the Cherries sparking quick attacks throughout the first half.
Matt Tubbs had a great chance to open the scoring during the first half an hour, but he couldn’t react quickly enough following an error in the Wigan defence.
Marc Pugh then had a clear penalty appeal waved away and further add insult to injury the winger was booked for diving, the Cherries would get their deserved goal before half time however with a stunning strike from Eunan O’Kane.
As expected the Premier League side were much improved in the second half and enjoyed a twenty minute spell of dominating the game with the Cherries sitting deeper and deeper, but just when it looked like the Cherries may be set to whether the storm, the referee awarded what looked like a controversial penalty.
Shwan Jalal saved the resulting penalty only for the rebound to be tucked away.
AFC Bournemouth continued to threaten on the counter attack, whilst Wigan hit the bar with an awesome strike from long range, but in the end the Cherries didn’t deserve to be beaten and they held on for a well deserved draw.
Howe told Sky Sports…
‘A little bit disappointed. When Wigan equalised I suppose you do think we are going to be under pressure.
‘But the lads responded really well to that setback and in the end we had the better chances. But it wasn’t to be and we are more than happy with a replay…’
‘…we’ll certainly have the crowd with us and it’ll be a good occasion so we’ll look forward to it, But Wigan have got Premier League players so they’re still favourites for the game. It will be a very difficult game for us.’
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