Premier League - Wigan snatch point at Stoke

Sat, 31 Dec 16:56:00 2011

Wigan Athletic hit back to earn a 2-2 draw with Stoke City in the Premier League at the Britannia Stadium.

Stoke 2 Wigan 2

The visitors took the lead when Victor Moses converted a cross from Hugo Rodallega just before half-time, but Stoke levelled after Gary Caldwell was sent off for a handball on the line, with Jonathan Walters converting from the spot.

Substitute Cameron Jerome looked to have won it for the home side with a 77th-minute strike, but Ben Watson's penalty moments later salvaged a point in a thrilling finale at the Britannia Stadium.

Peter Crouch returned for Stoke after missing the last two matches with a virus. Robert Huth recovered from a knock sustained in the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa to take his place in defence, but Glenn Whelan missed out with a calf injury. Andy Wiliamson, Rory Delap and Jermaine Pennant were all recalled to the side.

Wigan made one change from the team which lost 5-0 at Manchester United, Rodallega replacing Conor Sammon in attack.

Stoke made most of the early running, but it was Thomas Sorensen who was called into action in the first few minutes as he made low saves from first Jordi Gomez then Rodallega.

Stoke continued to enjoy the territorial advantage, with Pennant's crossing and Delap's long throws causing panic in the Latics defence.

Wigan, though, went close when Ronnie Stam's dipping long-range shot was tipped over by Sorensen.

Rodallega then raced on to a long ball and lobbed it over the onrushing Dane, only for Ryan Shawcross to head the ball out for a corner.

Stoke failed to register a shot on target in the first half and Wigan were rewarded for their superior cutting edge when they took the lead a minute before the break.

Stam set Rodallega free down the right and the Colombian crossed for Moses who fired into the roof of the net.

Stoke came out with intent in the second half, but again struggled to create chances until Huth rose to head a long Delap throw against the inside of the post. The ball bounced off the upright and into the grateful hands of Ali Al-Habsi.

Jerome's introduction as a substitute in the 73rd minute would prove highly significant as the former Birmingham City striker helped win a penalty and then put his side ahead.

Barely a minute after his arrival, Jerome's low header was handled on the line by the otherwise impressive Caldwell, who earned a straight red card for the offence. Walters drilled the resulting spot-kick past Al-Habsi.

Seven minutes later, Stoke were in the lead as they turned the match on its head. Walters headed on a Crouch flick, and substitute Jerome ran on to the ball and curled low into the bottom right corner.

Such drama raised the decibel level significantly, but the home supporters were silenced moments later when Ryan Shotton was adjudged to have brought down Rodallega in the area by referee Michael Oliver.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez decided to bring on Watson to take the penalty with his first kick of the match. Watson, replacing David Jones, hammered his kick past Sorensen.

Wigan remain in the relegation zone but will take heart from a spirited performance at the Britannia.

Stewart Coggin / Eurosport

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