By MARK HENDRY
STATS European Football Writer=
LONDON (SE) – Wolverhampton boss Mick McCarthy hailed
match-winner Andy Keogh as the Irish forward’s fifth minute
strike defeated Wigan 1-0 and gave his side their first ever
Premier League victory away from home.
Keogh met Nenad Milijas’ free-kick to beat Chris Kirkland just
minutes after he had struck the upright.
Wigan were strangely lacklustre considering their impressive
opening day win over Aston Villa but picked up after the break
with substitute Jason Scotland and Scott Sinclair going close.
The three points is Wolves’ first victory in the top flight,
away from the sanctity of the West Midlands since 1984, as their
only other Premier League season, in 2003-2004, failed to yield
any wins on the road.
McCarthy said: "After the start on Saturday, considering what
people have been saying about us and losing at home – it has
been a great evening for us.
“From the start of pre-season Andy Keogh has been one of the
stars and that is why he is in the side, it was lovely to see
him get the goal and see 5,000 away fans singing his name.
“What we have learned is that we can play at this level. We had
to play differently but there is not many of us who have played
Wigan’s steady season last term was ruined by a lack of
goal-scoring threat at home and although the management as
changed, with Roberto Martinez replacing the departing Steve
Bruce, on this performance little has changed.
Keogh hit the woodwork with Wolves first attack of the game to
give the home side concern but the former Leeds youngster did
not have to wait long for his first ever Premier League goal.
Milijas, already looking a fine acquisition by McCarthy, floated
a free-kick into the area and Keogh beat the muscular Paul
Scharner in the air to head past Kirkland.
Greg Halford should have doubled the lead from another Milijas
set-piece, this time a corner, but the full-back blazed over
inside the penalty area as Wigan looked in disarray.
The home side needed to improve after the break and looked
marginally more likely to score as Hugo Rodallega curled a
free-kick straight down the throat of Wolves ’keeper Wayne
Hennessey and then Scotland was only denied by a dramatic last
ditch challenge by Wolves midfielder Karl Henry.
The threat on the break was always a worry though and Wigan were
nearly caught out when Keogh turned Titus Bramble in the penalty
area and despite being brought down by the defender failed to
win the charm of the referee.
Scotland was denied again this time by Hennessey and Scott
Sinclair misplaced a header from Jordi Gomez’s cross but Wolves
were worth their three points.
Wigan manager Martinez said: "We saw two different performances
tonight and we paid the price with what has been a very
demanding week with players on international duty.
“We were sloppy in that period and Wolves got in top but after
half-time we were much better and although we did not create too
many chances there were many, many good things which we can