Premier League - Stam rescues point for Wigan
Wed, 05 Jan 22:05:00 2011
Ronnie Stam rescued a point for Wigan as they dug deep to draw 1-1 with Bolton in the Premier League at the Reebok Stadium.
After a largely lacklustre first half, the game sprang to life when Rodrigo Moreno scored on 54 minutes, only for Stam to finish off a superb Wigan passing move with 10 minutes remaining.
The Trotters had a number of chances to take the three points late in the game, but substitute Wigan keeper Mike Pollitt pulled out a superb reaction save in stoppage time to deny Johan Elmander and give his side a share of the spoils.
Owen Coyle’s depleted Bolton squad had lost four of their previous six league matches and the Trotters were down to just 15 players in their 2-1 defeat at Liverpool.
Meanwhile, wins for relegation rivals Birmingham and Fulham on Tuesday saw Roberto Martinez’s Wigan slide back into the drop zone.
The Spaniard described the Latics’ 1-0 defeat to Newcastle last time out as their worst performance of the season and, with both sides desperate for the three points, the game began in cagey fashion.
Chris Kirkland shrugged off a back injury to deputise for regular keeper Ali Al-Habsi - who was ineligible to play against his parent club - and the stand-in stopper had to be quick off his line to gather a dangerous Matt Taylor cross as Elmander looked to benefit.
The Latics' Tom Cleverley had scored two in three of Wigan's last away games, but the Manchester United loanee limped off after nine minutes with a hamstring injury and as Wigan packed their defence, the Trotters fired in a succession of set-pieces.
Taylor was again the provider on 21 minutes and Spaniard Moreno was just beaten to the ball at the far post by an alert James McArthur.
In a match lacking any shooting opportunities, the rain-soaked fans had to wait until the 31st minute for the first real effort on goal.
Zat Knight was adjudged to have handled a Hugo Rodallega effort and the Colombian's resulting curling free-kick was beaten away firmly by Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The Trotters' best chance of the half came two minutes before the break.
Taylor again delivered a teasing corner, but Kevin Davies could only head off-target with team-mate Knight at his back.
Chelsea target Gary Cahill showed why he is so highly rated with a glancing header that just drifted wide of Kirkland's post, before heading over from a difficult position after Kirkland failed to connect with another Taylor corner.
Steve Gohouri showed Wigan carried a threat with a clever run and shot that flew over Jaaskelainen's bar on 50 minutes, but it was the hosts who broke the deadlock four minutes later.
Mark Davies drove at the Wigan backline and played a pinpoint ball to Rodrigo, who lifted the ball above Kirkland to give the hosts the lead.
Kirkland's night ended in frightening fashion when the keeper came off worst after a 50-50 with Elmander and after a lenghty delay to fit the stopper with a neck brace, the luckless Wigan man was carried off to applause from all corners of the Reebok.
Mike Pollitt, previously subjected to a 8-0 humiliation at Chelsea, came on for the Latics, but it was his opposite number, Jaaskelainen, who was called into action to snuff out a Rodallega attack with the help of Cahill.
Taylor came agonisingly close to a second for the hosts with a header from Kevin Davies' chipped ball in and Pollitt then stood up well to deny Elmander after Antolin Alcaraz was caught out in defence.
At the other end, Rodallega was flagged narrowly offside when through on goal but the visitors were level a minute later.
Stam started a move from inside his own half and when Rodallega fed Steven Gohouri out on the right, his whipped cross across the six-yard box was poked into the net by the sliding Stam.
Petrov was again in the thick of the action with a teasing far post cross that Kevin Davies headed over at the far post but it was Elmander who should have sewn the game up in the second minute of eight minutes of added time.
Kevin Davies rose highest to head the ball into the path of the Swede, but his volley from 12 yards was superbly beaten away by Pollitt.
There was still time for Fabrice Muamba to waste a gilt-edged opportunity, but Wigan held on to claim a point a hard-earned point.Ian Hare / Eurosport