Hammers on the ropes as Kilbane raise Wigan hopes


Last updated at 20:44 02 February 2008

Kevin Kilbane delivered a massive blow to West Ham's hopes of hosting UEFA Cup action next season after his first goal for 10 months gave Wigan's survival prospects a timely lift.

The Republic of Ireland winger

produced a looping header in firsthalf

stoppage time following a Ryan

Taylor free-kick to score what

proved the winner.

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Wigan would have won by more

but for an amazing incident in the

72nd minute, when Luis Antonio

Valencia's 25-yard effort struck

both posts before rebounding to


West Ham struggled to get going

and almost fell behind in the 35th

minute when Taylor's free-kick

whistled wide. It was a rare

moment of quality as both sides

struggled to string a couple of

passes together on a dreadful pitch.

Emile Heskey, named in Fabio

Capello's provisional England squad

despite scoring just once in the

Premier League this term, summed

up the first half when his attempt

ended up closer to the corner flag than the net. But Kilbane struck in

the closing moments after the

former Everton winger got on to

the end of Taylor's clever free-kick.

Wigan looked the more likely side

to score after the break.

It is more than three years since

Michael Brown last scored in the

Premier League and the former

Tottenham midfielder will not be

given too many chances as good as

the one he squandered in the 55th


Brown found himself clean

through on goal with only Robert

Green to beat, but the West Ham

keeper kept his cool to save with

his legs.

Then came that amazing effort

from Valencia.

West Ham almost snatched an

undeserved point when substitute

Craig Bellamy was allowed time

and space inside the Wigan area.

But the former Liverpool striker

could not keep his composure and

fired over as the Hammers slipped

to their first defeat in Wigan.

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