Aliadiere strike sinks Latics

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Jeremie Aliadiere was Middlesbrough's unlikely hero with an 89th-minute strike to give his struggling side a 1-0 win at Wigan.

Just as it seemed the games was destined to end goalless the former Arsenal striker squeezed the ball past Chris Kirkland to give Boro three precious points.

Barclays Premier League's top scorer, Amr Zaki, posed a constant threat for the Latics, first coming close just past the quarter-hour mark when he picked up Antonio Valencia's free-kick at the far post - but could only steer it into the side-netting.

The game degenerated into a lifeless affair, although Zaki remained at the centre of almost everything, lashing another speculative effort high and wide in the 27th minute.

Emile Heskey, seeking his 100th Premier League goal, was ruled narrowly offside when put through by Wilson Palacios, then Boro fashioned their first chance when David Wheater put the ball narrowly over Kirkland's bar.

Zaki had the best chance of the half three minutes before the break, lashing a right-foot shot from the edge of the box that goalkeeper Ross Turnbull did well to tip around the post.

The home side continued to look most likely to break the deadlock at the start of second half, Palacios firing wildly over the bar after Chris Riggott deflected an effort by Antonio Valencia into his path.

A slip by Stuart Downing set up another Wigan chance in the 67th minute, Valencia neatly setting up the impressive Palacios, who shot straight at Turnbull.

Latics boss Steve Bruce responded by bringing on Jason Koumas for Olivier Kapo and the Welshman sent in a dangerous 77th minute free-kick which almost found the head of Paul Scharner.

Koumas and Heskey tested Turnbull before Boro seized the win when Downing nodded the ball into the path of Aliadiere - who slotted the winner low past Kirkland.

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Chris Kirkland
Emile Heskey
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Jeremie Aliadiere
Paul Scharner
Ross Turnbull
Wigan Athletic
David Wheater
Amr Zaki
Antonio Valencia
Chris Riggott
Wilson Palacios
Jason Koumas

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