Sunday, 2 September 2012

Wigan 2-2 Stoke City – Latics Secure Draw

The Latics were twice pegged back as they had to make do with a share of the points, in what was an entertaining game on Saturday afternoon.

Shaun Maloney gave the Latics the lead after only four minutes, after great link up play between the tenacious Maloney and Franco Di Santo resulted in Robert Huth clearly handling. 

Shaun Maloney
Scottish international Maloney coolly converted the penalty giving visiting keeper Asmir Begovic no chance.

Unlike their last home game Roberto Martinez’s men were quickly out of the blocks. In what was an impressive start from Martinez’s men with Chilean international Jean Beausejour tormenting the Stoke backline, but he was forced off with an injury on the half hour mark.

That seemed to kill off the Latics’ creativity and drive, as the Potters brought on new signing Charlie Adam and they gained some control especially in midfield. 

Missed chances earlier in the half proved costly as Stoke levelled in the 40th minute, Walters scoring from the spot after referee Martin Atkinson had adjudged Maynor Figueroa of handling the ball inside his own area.

Irish international Jonathan Walters fired home past new dad Ali Al Habsi, and ensured that somewhat against the run of the play the visitors went in level at the break.

Al Habsi did very well to tip Mark Wilson’s fine strike onto the bar and out for a corner as Stoke pressed for a second.

Any momentum that Tony Pulis’ side had looked to have gained was banished early in the second half. Arouna Kone did well to find Di Santo who finished smartly with a first time strike.

Despite the setback the visitors fought back and found their feet once again, and Peter Crouch levelled the game up as he rose to head home from Walters’ cross.

Al Habsi was on hand late on to deny Adam a winner on debut, when he produced an outstanding save when the free kick had taken a wicked deflection.

Many will have left the DW frustrated as the Latics twice had the lead and had much of the play and possession. Speaking after the match manager Martinez was keen to pick out the positives from his side’s display:

“We started really brightly and got the goal we deserved, but then you are looking at the manner in which the game opened up and it could have gone either way.”

The points sees the Latics remain in the top of the league on four points, next up is a trip to Old Trafford, after the international break and Martinez will be keen to see his players return to Wigan with no injuries. 

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