It was another frustrating afternoon at the DW Stadium as a spirited Wigan were once again unable to secure three points against Everton despite taking the lead in bizarre circumstances.
In freezing cold temperatures Latics lined up against an invigorated Everton team who had defeated title favourites Manchester City on Tuesday night. £5 million signing Nikica Jelavic only started on the bench but Steven Pienaar returned to the Everton starting line up after an unsuccessful sojourn at Spurs. Wigan’s only transfer deadline signing Jean Beausejour made his home debut as an attacking wing back.
The first real opening of the game fell to the home team when Maynor Figueroa’s superb forty yard pass found Franco Di Santo on the edge of the 18 yard box, the Argentinian should have given Wigan the lead but his shot was hit straight at Tim Howard.
Everton’s best opening came when ex-Wiganer Leighton Baines pulled the ball back to Darron Gibson on the edge of the Wigan box but the former Manchester United player blasted high and wide.
Jean Beausejour was linking up well with Jordi Gomez on the left hand side and he was looking the most likely to unlock the Everton defence. On a couple of occasions he whipped in good crosses but the other forwards failed to make the opportunities count.
Everton seemed relatively content to absorb Wigan pressure and the teams went in level at half time.
David Moyes introduced Phil Neville for the ineffectual Tim Cahill at half time and the tempo upped at the start of the second half. Everton had a good spell of possession but no clear chance came from it.
Nikica Jelavic was introduced in place of Stracqualursi on 60 minutes and Wigan brought on David Jones and Hugo Rodallega for Ronnie Stam and Jordi Gomez soon afterwards.
It was looking as though one goal would decide it and it was Wigan who took the lead in freakish fashion on 76 minutes. Beausejour’s low cross was deflected towards goal by Neville and Howard bizarrely allowed the spinning ball to slip through his hands into the net.
Wigan then had an opportunity to ensure the three points when Victor Moses broke quickly and with Rodallega and Crusat in better goal scoring positions he elected to shoot straight at Heitinga. Two nil would have effectively sealed the game for Latics with ten minutes remaining.
Moses inability to make the final shot or pass count has been a frustration all season. He has great ability and his darting runs are a constant threat, but he still needs to learn how to finish off his good work if he is to become a top player.
Wigan’s inability to finish off Everton encouraged their opponents to push for the equaliser. After a succession of corners the ball was cleared to Leighton Baines who crossed for Victor Anichebe to head past Ali Al Habsi.
Overall it had been an evenly fought encounter but Wigan had been presented with a great opportunity to win the game. Their inability to finish off opponents may come back to haunt them at the end of the season. Latics now haven’t taken three points since 10th December last year when they won away at West Bromwich Albion. It goes without saying that next week’s bottom of the table encounter at Bolton would be the ideal time to take the three points and commence another great escape.