Coyle backs Eagles to soar after letting fly to bring down poor Wigan
Wigan Athletic 1 Bolton 3
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Monday 17 October 2011
Owen Coyle believes that Chris Eagles can establish himself as a genuine Premier League player at the third time of asking. The winger got precious few opportunities as a fledgling with Manchester United and then sparked only fitfully for Burnley in their single season in the big time.
"I know him inside out," said Coyle, who signed him for both Burnley and Bolton. "I know what he can bring to the team and I thought he showed me a complete game today."
Eagles has been deployed behind a front two at times at Wanderers. At Wigan on Saturday, he looked far happier out on the right, he and Martin Petrov giving Bolton a width that the Latics struggled to cope with.
He set up their first, troubled a shaky defence repeatedly and, after missing a glaring chance, made sure of three points to lift them off the foot of the table by scoring in injury time.
It should not have been so late before Bolton could relax. Among other missed opportunities was a penalty Kevin Davies drove at Ali al-Habsi.
Coyle admitted that, when that failed to go in, he began to wonder whether his men were going to blow their chance. After a morale-sapping run of six defeats, confidence can be a fragile commodity. "Everyone defended as though their lives depended on it," said Coyle. That applied to David Wheater, back from suspension, more than most, while Nigel Reo-Coker and Darren Pratley were notably industrious in midfield.
As for Wigan, the infallibly optimistic Roberto Martinez insisted they had done little wrong, apart from conceding soft goals; as he knows, that is rather a big "apart from" and it is now Wigan who have six losses on the spin in all competitions. Mohamed Diame's splendidly-struck equaliser aside, they presented little threat, although there was some encouragement in the return, via the bench, of Hugo Rodallega.
Scorers: Wigan Athletic Diame 40. Bolton Wanderers Reo-Coker 4, Ngog 45, Eagles 90.
Substitutes: Wigan Figueroa 5 (Gohouri, h-t), Rodallega 6 (Watson, h-t), Maloney (McCarthy, 74). Bolton Klasnic (Ngog, 83), Gardner (Petrov, 87), M Davies (Eagles, 90).
Booked: Wigan Di Santo, Figueroa, Caldwell, Alcaraz. Bolton Pratley, Robinson, Boyata, Petrov.
Man of the match Eagles. Match rating 6/10.
Possession: Wigan 44% Bolton 56%.
Attempts on target: Wigan 9 Bolton 11.
Referee M Dean (Gloucester). Attendance 17,261.
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