Wigan Athletic 1 Middlesbrough 1

Last updated : 18 September 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Steve McClaren was a bit wary going into this game fearing that his team could suffer the sort of European hangover they experienced so often last season.

Incredibly Middlesbrough managed to win only one out of ten league games last year after ties in the UEFA cup, a record which ultimately sabotaged any hope of earning a Champions League place.

It looked like the manager's fears were unfounded until substitute Henri Camara got in on the act, hitting the equaliser, and then almost snatching a Wigan winner after coming off the bench in the second half.

After beating Greek side Xanthi on Thursday and Arsenal last weekend, Middlesbrough were on a high.

And Nigerian striker Yakubu showed just why Boro splashed out £7.5million to land him as he stunned Wigan with a devastating strike after 14 minutes.

It was a move straight from the training ground with right-back Abel Xavier pumping a free-kick into the box from deep inside his own half.

Mark Viduka reacted quickest, getting up to flick the ball into the path of the former Portsmouth star, who beat Stephane Henchoz to it and swept it past the helpless Mike Pollitt without breaking stride.

It was just the start Boro were looking for but they should have doubled their lead in the 26th minute.

James Morrison picked out the unmarked Viduka with a great cross from the right but the Australian striker made a complete mess of it, hurrying the shot and hitting it way over the target.

Wigan had a couple of half-chances early on with Jimmy Bullard firing one wide and Lee McCulloch having another deflected just past the post, much to Mark Schwarzer's relief.

Graham Kavanagh - facing the club which gave him his first chance in football - also had a crack when Ugo Ehiogu fouled Jason Roberts 10 yards outside the area.

The midfielder curled the free-kick over the wall - but it also went over Schwarzer's crossbar without troubling the keeper.

Boro survived a Wigan penalty appeal when Roberts failed to get a clean contract on the cross from Pascal Chimbonda, and the spinning ball appeared to strike defender Xavier's hand. But ref Uriah Rennie was unimpressed by the claim.

And Wigan's luck was definitely in when Emanuel Pogatetz's powerful header hit the crossbar just on half-time after a free-kick was hammered in by Franck Queudrue.

The Latics did have the ball in the net after 57 minutes as McCulloch and Schwarzer went for Bullard's cross - but referee Rennie awarded a free-kick Boro's way.

Paul Jewell then opted to make a change - sending on £3Million record signing Camara to replace David Connolly up front.

And it proved to be an inspired substitution, as four minutes after coming off the bench the Senegal international was celebrating Wigan's equaliser.

Left-back Leighton Baines hit the ball to the edge of the box, it deflected off Ehiogu, leaving Gareth Southgate stranded, and Camara, just back from an injury lay-off, seized the opportunity to score from 10 yards.

It gave Wigan a massive lift, and the ex-Wolves striker almost did it again, just missing the target by inches.