Premier League - Tottenham scrape draw at Wigan

Premier League, DW Stadium - Wigan Athletic 2 (Boyce 11, McManaman 49) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Bale 9, Boyce o.g. 89)

Premier League - Tottenham scrape draw at Wigan

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2013Wigan Athletic's Callum McManaman (top) celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Tottenham Hotspur at The DW Stadium in Wigan, northern England, April 27, 2013

Tottenham Hotspur salvaged a 2-2 draw at Wigan in the Premier League as Emmerson Boyce scored at both ends.

Gareth Bale gave Spurs a freakish early lead when he charged down a Joel Robles clearance as Wigan pressed the self-destruct button.

Almost immediately, Boyce headed Wigan level and they went in front early in the second half thanks to a superb Callum McManaman strike.

Wigan deserved all three points but were denied when Tom Huddlestone drilled a low free-kick into the six-yard box and the ball ricocheted in off Boyce.

Bale and Huddlestone both went close in a frantic finale, but Tottenham had to settle for a draw that does little for either side.

Wigan remain in the bottom three on 32 points, while Tottenham missed the chance to go provisionally third - they stay fifth instead.

Huddlestone enlivened the early stages by nearly catching Joel out with a free-kick that thumped off the post from a tight angle from the right - but it didn't take long for the goalkeeper to heap embarrassment on himself.

Maynor Figueroa dithered at the edge of the box before rolling the ball slowly back to Joel. The goalkeeper still had plenty of opportunity to avoid trouble, but lofted a nonchalant clearance straight onto the onrushing Bale's outstretched foot and the ball pinged into the roof of the net.

It hardly compares with some of the brilliant strikes the Welshman has scored this season, but it showed Bale has developed into the sort of opportunist goalscorer few could have imagined him becoming 12 months ago.

It looked like a potentially season-defining calamity for Wigan, yet in little over a minute they were back on terms as Shaun Maloney swung in a corner and Boyce headed past Hugo Lloris.

Worse followed for Figueroa, however, as he suffered a groin injury while making a vital defensive challenge on Defoe.

The Honduran tried to play on before collapsing to the turf, and Wigan's medical staff stretchered him off. It could rule Figueroa out of the FA Cup final and the rest of his club's Premier League campaign.

Joel then partially redeemed himself, nicking the ball adroitly off Jermain Defoe's feet as the striker tried to take the ball past him having already weaved past two defenders.

Despite conceding a majority of possession, Wigan were the better side and went in front on 49 minutes thanks to a memorable first Premier League goal by McManaman.

The midfielder controlled nicely at the edge of the box before lashing the bouncing ball into the net with a vicious drive that left Lloris grasping at thin air.

Andre Villas-Boas left Emmanuel Adebayor out of his squad altogether after a string of poor performances, but a malaise appeared to affect the entire Tottenham squad. They consistently failed to carve open a disciplined Wigan while Bale was unusually peripheral.

That said, Wigan were lucky to keep a full complement of players when Jordi Gomez - already booked - flew in with a head-high kung-fu challenge on Lewis Holtby. Referee Martin Atkinson chose to take no action.

Wigan defended ably and looked the likelier scorers as Lloris twice denied the excellent Arouna Kone.

But when Jean Beausejour bundled Kyle Walker over, it presented Huddlestone with the chance to fire the ball into the mixer and it went in off the oblivious Boyce.

It might have been worse for Wigan: with the last action of the game Bale saw a free-kick well blocked by Joel, with the keeper then doing even better to keep out Huddlestone's follow-up.


Arouna Kone (Wigan): A superb display from the Ivorian who proved a constant third in Tottenham's side and personified a lively, fearless Wigan display.


WIGAN: Robles 5, Figueroa 5, Scharner 7, Boyce 7, Beausejour 6, McArthur 7, McCarthy 7, McManaman 7, Gomez 5, Maloney 7, Kone 8. Subs: Stam 6, Di Santo 7, Espinoza N/A.

TOTTENHAM: Lloris 6, Walker 6, Dawson 5, Vertonghen 6, Naughton 7, Dembele 6, Parker 5, Huddlestone 7, Bale 6, Dempsey 7, Defoe 6. Subs: Holtby 7, Assou-Ekotto 6, Lennon 6.


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