Wigan Athletic 1 Manchester City 1

Last updated : 01 December 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Steve Bruce's reign got off to an encouraging start as ten-man Wigan showed their fighting qualities to stop the rot after eight straight defeats and deny Manchester City the chance to move ahead of rivals United in the Premier League table.

But the former Birmingham boss had to endure an instantly forgettable first minute when City were gifted the lead before they battled back to level before half-time.

And he could have lived without the late red card for skipper Mario Melchiot who now faces a three-match ban.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's side was missing influential Brazilian star Elano who picked up a hamstring injury in training, but Geovanni was back in the starting line-up.

Wigan had Chris Kirkland, Antonio Valencia and Melchiot back after injury and Emile Heskey, who was on the bench at Arsenal last week, was in from the off partnering Marcus Bent up front with Antoine Sibierski injured.

The welcome applause for Bruce had hardly died down when City grabbed the lead after a terrible blunder by Titus Bramble.
The big centre-back made a total mess of getting the ball clear when there appeared to be no danger.

The slip let Geovanni in and the Brazilian nipped round Kirkland to slot it into the empty net after just 35 seconds to make it a nightmare start for the Latics and their new manager.

But Wigan bounced back to level it up when Jason Koumas pounced on Vedran Corluka's clearing header to pick out the unmarked Paul Scharner with the cross, and the Austrian midfielder headed in the equaliser.

The Latics threatened again just before half-time when Koumas hammered one over the bar and a Kevin Kilbane throw-in bounced dangerously in the box, but no-one took advantage of the chance.

Ryan Taylor replaced Heskey and the former Tranmere player went close to firing Wigan into the lead.

Scharner set up the strike and City keeper Andreas Isaksson reacted superbly to push it wide.

Wigan had a handball appeal against Micah Richards turned down as Valencia chased into the box and there was more controversy when Michael Ball was robbed of possession just inside the area, and ref Mike Riley blew for a free-kick.

But the match ended on a sour note when the Latics were reduced to ten men for the last three minutes after Melchiot was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Stephen Ireland.

And the Latics were denied again in stoppage time when the ball appeared to strike Kelvin Etuhu on the hand inside the area.