Wigan Athletic 1 Watford 1: Camara's misses put the focus on slow start for Wigan

Click to follow
The Independent Football

It takes a momentary mental adjustment on seeing Wigan v Watford on the fixture list to accept it as a Premiership game; watching Saturday's encounter, it took an even larger one, something acknowledged by the Watford goalscorer Hameur Bouazza. "It may be that Wigan will be one of the other teams we are battling against at the end of the season," he said. "But we just need to get results ourselves."

At least his equaliser - a clever free-kick swept into the bottom corner after 63 minutes - earned Watford their first away point of the season, but, yet again, they could easily have had more after taking control of the second half. When Marlon King's smart shot on the turn was pushed against the post by Chris Kirkland, every Watford mind must have gone back to Bolton a fortnight earlier, when they had struck the frame of the goal three times and failed to score.

Their battle, at least, was expected; Wigan, after the success of last year, had perhaps expected mid-table consolidation. There is no crisis at the JJB yet, but there was little encouragement there on Saturday either. That said, they had much the better of the first half and took the lead as Henri Camara swept home his first of the season from Malky Mackay's misguided back-header.

They probably should have had the game wrapped up by the half-time, the Senegal forward wasting several good chances. "If I had been fully fit, it would have been a hat-trick at least," Camara admitted.

His fitness, he believes, is key, but with his hamstring on the mend Camara is optimistic that Wigan will not be drawn into the relegation scrap. "Play is a lot more direct with Emile [Heskey] in the team," he said. "But when I am fit, it will really start to tick and I'll play off him well and reap the benefits. We are going to party!"

Goals: Camara (29) 1-0; Bouazza (63) 1-1.

Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Kirkland; Boyce, De Zeeuw, Hall, Baines; Valencia (Teale, 54), Landzaat, Scharner, Kilbane; Heskey, Camara. Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), Johansson, Jackson, Todorov .

Watford (4-4-2): Foster; DeMerit, Mackay, Shittu, Stewart; Smith (Henderson, 73), Mahon, Francis, Bouazza (Spring, 84); King, Young. Substitutes not used: Lee (gk), Doyley, McNamee.

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).

Booked: Wigan Valencia, Camara; Watford Mackay, Mahon.

Man of the match: Mahon.

Attendance: 16,359.