Everton snatch draw with late penalty

Premier League, DW Stadium - Wigan 2 (Kone 10, Di Santo 23) Everton 2 (Jelavic 11, Baines pen 87)

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Everton snatch draw with late penalty
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Wigan Athletic's Shaun Maloney rues a missed chance against Everton, October 2012

Everton kept their fine start to the Premier League season on track as they fought back from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw with Wigan at the DW Stadium.

Arouna Kone put the home side ahead inside ten minutes, but Nikica Jelavic levelled at the other end within 60 seconds.

An inspired Wigan went ahead once more however, with Kone setting up Franco di Santo for a second after 23 minutes that looked likely to be the winner as the match ended its dying moments.

But after seeing several penalties denied, Everton were finally awarded a spot kick by referee Kevin Friend for a trip on Kevin Mirallas, and Leighton Baines dispatched a truly magnificent spot kick into the top corner to give the Toffees a well-deserved share of the points.

Wigan came into the match with just one win so far this season while Everton have been enjoying their best ever start to a Premier League campaign, but it was the home side who impressed from the off.

Franco di Santo and Arouna Kone looked lively from the start, grasping every opportunity to take the match to the Toffees, and their reward came just 10 minutes in.

The ball was delivered to Kone in space on the right just inside the Everton half, and the striker controlled the ball brilliantly before delivering it out to Shaun Maloney on the left.

Maloney then beat two defenders before crossing - and Kone was there once again, having charged upfield to find the perfect position to nod in.

Though it was a silky move there was a suggestion of offside, but before the Everton players had stopped complaining to the referee the visitors had drawn level.

Leon Osman picked up the ball on the left and made a run into the box that appeared to have ended as he shot while off balance and falling backwards.

But while the ball missed its intended target of the net, it worked dreamily well as a perfectly-weighted pass to the far post where Jelavic was waiting to head home.

Wigan had been well worth their lead, but rather than becoming dismayed at having seen it wiped out they only increased their efforts - and 12 minutes later they had their reward, with Kone at the centre of things once again.

A superb long pass up the pitch from Gary Caldwell found the Ivorian striker who did brilliantly to beat Johnny Heitinga, then burst into the box and cut it back from the byline to the penalty spot where di Santo was waiting to blast into the roof of the net.

Wigan remained the better side, though they only retained the lead going into the break thanks to Ali Al Habsi's almost miraculous save from Osman just after the half-hour mark. Osman's strike deflected wickedly off the legs of Ivan Ramis and seemed certain to have wrong-footed the Oman international, but he still managed to leap backwards and touch the ball over the crossbar.

Everton looked increasingly frustrated as the half went on, and Marouane Fellaini was lucky to finish the half on the pitch, first after a petulant kick at Caldwell went unpunished and then when an apparently intentional arm to the face of Maynor Figueroa was judged only enough for a yellow card.

As the second half got under way Everton began to take control of the match, with Pienaar and Baines both outstanding in orchestrating the attacks and Jelavic looking a constant menace.

But Wigan, throwing almost everyone behind the ball, looked increasingly likely to weather the storm as the match progressed.

The feeling that it would be just one of those days for Everton was increased as they were denied two seemingly clear penalties, one for Figueroa clipping Jelavic's outstretched foot as he shaped to shoot from seven yards with 13 minutes left, and another with six minutes to go for Jelavic being bundled over in the box by Caldwell after controlling a pass perfectly on his chest.

Wigan's luck finally ran out, however, with the least-convincing of the three claims being adjudged a spot kick when Kevin Mirallas fell over under a challenge from Figueroa that seemed barely a glancing blow.

Baines took full advantage of the spot kick with a stunning strike into the corner that Al Habsi could not stop despite going the right way, and Everton finally had their reward for a superb second-half display that keeps them in the top three of the league.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Though Di Santo, Kone and Pienaar were all exceptional as well, Leighton Baines gets the nod for being superb at both ends of the pitch and hitting a genuinely unsaveable penalty.

PLAYER RATINGS

WIGAN: Al Habsi 8, Kone 8, McCarthy 5, Caldwell 7, Di Santo 8, Maloney 7, McArthur 5, Boyce 6, Ramis 6, Beausejour 7, Figueroa 7. Subs: McManaman n/a.

EVERTON: Howard 6, Baines 8, Heitinga 6, Jagielka 7, Jelavic 7, Mirallas 7, Neville 7, Pienaar 8, Osman 7, Coleman 5, Fellaini 5. Subs: Distin 5

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