7 seconds ago 2010-05-04T15:35:02-07:00
WIGAN, England (AFP) – Hull City were officially relegated from the English Premier League on Monday as hosts Wigan Athletic secured a 2-2 draw with a dramatic injury-time equaliser at the DW Stadium.
Latics defender Steve Gohouri scored the crucial last-ditch goal that confirmed the Tigers' relegation to the Championship.
Hull went into the clash knowing that only a first away win of the season would keep them mathematically in the top flight.
But survival was practically impossible given their huge goal difference deficit compared to West Ham, the only team they could have drawn level with on points.
They join Burnley and Portsmouth in the Championship next year, the Clarets and Pompey having already been relegated.
Hull's first foray into English football's top flight lasted two seasons.
Wigan's 19-year-old striker Victor Moses scored his first goal for the club with a 30th-minute shot.
Hull debutant Will Atkinson equalised in the 42nd minute with a header and striker Mark Cullen, making only his third appearance, nodded them ahead in the 64th minute with his first senior goal.
But Gohouri, being watched by his Ivory Coast manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, levelled three minutes into injury time with a spectacular overhead kick for his first Tigers goal.
"That is the nature of this harsh league," Hull manager Iain Dowie said.
"I'm very proud of the display, I thought it was absolutely outstanding and that we deserved more than we got.
"We haven't won but we might well have done. We have scored two goals away from home for the second time since I have been here and unfortunately we have only got one point from it, which is the galling side."
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez said: "It is one of those performances which leaves you with mixed feelings because we knew that we had to take control of the game and break Hull down.
"They were well-organised and working hard and I thought for spells, we showed very good moments.
"But then what we don't lack is that character and desire to carry on doing the right things until the end. I thought the second goal was the reward the players deserved."
With Wigan safe and Hull de facto already down, both clubs took the opportunity to try out some fresh faces.
Martinez made four changes, with Moses among those drafted in. Meanwhile Dowie brought in three youngsters, including Atkinson and Cullen.
Wigan had the better of the opening exchanges and their pressure paid off when Moses broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark.
Played in by Mohamed Diame on the left, he cut inside two defenders before curling a shot across goalkeeper Matt Duke into the bottom corner of the goal.
Making his 13th appearance and second start for Wigan, it was the Nigerian-born England under-19 international's first goal for the Latics since signing from Crystal Palace in February.
Hull were in determined mood though and earned a deserved but controversial equaliser minutes before half-time.
Kevin Kilbane clipped the ball in towards Atkinson, who headed it past Tigers goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.
The goal appeared to have been disallowed due to a raised flag for offside, but referee Phil Dowd over-ruled his assistant to award the goal.
Hull had a penalty appeal turned down shortly after the break.
Cullen's header came from a George Boateng cross from the right wing, which the youngster nodded in in from six yards out.
But the hosts had the last laugh with Gohouri's impressive goal.
Hull broke but Cullen lost the ball, which was pumped back towards the Tigers' goal.
Substitute Paul Scharner - who had the word "thanks" sprayed into his hair in blue and white - knocked the ball back across goal for Gohouri to send Hull down with a superb finish.