Harper's Heroics Take the Points but It's Cruel on Wigan; JUST IN TIME: Reading Scorer James Harper Celebrates with Bobby Convey
Byline: PETER HIGGS
READING 2 WIGAN 1JAMES HARPER'S first goal of the season in the final minute lifted Reading outof the bottom three to end a run of three successive defeats.
Never will Steve Coppell's side have been more grateful for a change of fortuneand never will they have had more reason to thank the good luck theyexperienced in the last 10 minutes of a frantic match.
For Wigan will regard themselves as victims of an injustice after failing togain all three points themselves.
Having failed to win any of their previous four matches, Chris Hutchings' sidewere as desperate as Reading to put points on the board, resulting in a tenseencounter which could have gone either way.
Jason Koumas, Wigan's Welsh international midfielder, will consider himselfparticularly hard-done-by to finish on the losing side having been involved insome of the highlights of the afternoon.
Nothing was more significant than the 31st-minute incident which might haveturned the course of the match but went against the visitors.
It came two minutes after Reading had taken the lead when Dave Kitson forcedthe ball home from close range after goalkeeper Chris Kirkland had failed tohold Kevin Doyle's low shot.
Scarcely before Reading had finished celebrating, Koumas went on a mazy runthrough the heart of the Reading defence which was ended by a foul from IvarIngimarsson which sent the [pounds sterling]6 million signing from West Brom tumbling insidethe penalty area.
The Iceland defender was booked and after much delay referee Keith Stroud ruledthat the infringement had taken place right on the edge of the area rather thaninside. But even then Koumas's luck was out as his superb free-kick curled overthe wall and against the underside of the bar before being hooked to safety.
Wigan, whose controlled passing often had the Reading defence at full stretch,deserved their equaliser five minutes into the second half, Koumas flightinghis corner perfectly for Marcus Bent, on loan from Charlton, to head homepowerfully. …