Mixed day for Emmerson Boyce
Wigan were desperately unlucky to concede a late own goal by Emmerson Boyce and miss out on a vital three points in their fight for Premier League survival. The Latics had been moments away from the win that would have taken them out of the relegation zone, but following what appeared to be a wrongly awarded free kick, Champions League chasing Spurs equalised.
Referee Martin Atkinson awarded a debatable free kick after Jean Beausejour was adjudged to have fouled Kyle Walker but it appeared that Walker had initially pushed Beausejour.
Spurs had been the better side in the opening half and had taken the lead when Bale scored one of the most bizarre goals ever seen at the DW Stadium, but Wigan had responded within two minutes equalising through a Boyce header.
In the second half it was the Latics who had been the better outfit and they deservedly took the lead through a superb Callum McManaman strike, but ultimately they could not gain the win they had so desperately needed.
Wigan made changes to their defensive line-up following the injury to Antolin Alacraz and decided to go with a back three of Boyce, Paul Scharner and Maynor Figueroa with Club Captain Gary Caldwell on the bench. Wigan’s midfield was reinforced by James McArthur as Latics looked to subdue the abundance of attacking talents in Spurs line-up.
Only nine minutes into the game Wigan’s propensity to play the ball out from the back was for once their downfall as they conceded a desperately poor goal. Figueroa casually played the ball back to Joel Robles in the Wigan goal, who despite the close attention of Gareth Bale was too slow to clear and the advancing Welshman stuck out his boot to score from close range.
It was a shocking way to concede but Wigan responded admirably and soon equalised following a corner from Shaun Maloney. Wigan’s longest-serving player Emmerson Boyce rose high to meet the cross and headed firmly into the top corner of the Spurs net.
The equaliser did not stem the flow of Spurs attacks however, and Jermain Defoe went close after a mazy run, and Bale headed narrowly over the crossbar from Kyle Naughton’s excellent cross.
Wigan lost Maynor Figueroa after two important defensive interventions, and the early indications are that the Honduran may now miss the FA Cup Final. But they still showed their threat on the break when Arouna Kone came close to giving them the lead when he curled his side foot shot inches over the Spurs crossbar.
Spurs had the Lions share of the efforts on goal in the first 45 minutes, but Wigan refused to be overawed by the expensively assembled opposition and there was still a belief that they could get something from the game.
This belief was evident in the opening minutes of the second half as they set about attacking the Spurs goal, and within four minutes they had taken the lead through a superb Callum McManaman strike.
Kone fed McManaman on the edge of the Spurs penalty area and the former Everton trainee stepped inside Kyle Naughton before driving a tremendously venomous shot past Hugo Lloris.
Wigan did not sit back on their lead and continued to press and they might have scored a third when Koné evaded Dawson but Lloris saved his effort. Kone continued to threaten the Spurs goal and Dawson was booked for a very late challenge. Soon afterwards the Spurs Captian made another poor challenge and could have been sent off for this second offence, but referee Martin Atkinson was in very lenient mood as far as Spurs were concerned.
However, with only moments remaining referee Atkinson awarded a very debatable free kick in Spurs favour. Jean Beausejour was adjudged to have fouled Kyle Walker on the edge of the Wigan penalty area, however it appeared that Walker had initially pushed Beausejour.
Tom Huddlestone’s low free kick cross caused panic in the Wigan defence, Bale swung a boot and unluckily the ball hit Boyce’s shin and flew into the net.
Both sides desperately searched for the winner but neither side could find the vital finish. A win was needed by both teams but it was very harsh on the Latics who had matched their Champions League seeking opponents. For their second half performance alone Wigan had merited taking all three points.