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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:00 27th April 2013
By  Nick Taylor

REPORT: LATICS 2 TOTTENHAM 2

A crucial three points was almost chalked in as Latics came from behind through an Emmerson Boyce header and thunderbolt from Callum McManaman, but in the dying embers of the game an unfortunate deflection from a Tom Huddlestone free kick saved Tottenham Hotspur a point.

Roberto Martinez made two changes from the starting XI that played against West Ham United, with Jean Beausejour coming in for Antolin Alcaraz and Gary Caldwell making way for James McArthur.

The styles of Latics and Spurs were always going to create and exciting game and after just nine minutes the game was sparked into life for the visitors when Joel Robles made an attempted clearance for Maynor Figueroa's pass inside the six yard box but, instead of sending the ball long he side footed it too calmly and the ball rebounded back behind him from Gareth Bale's sprinting block.

Spurs started the game with a view to control possession and did so up until their goal but two minutes later Latics made sure that the contest would re-ignite.

The ever lively Callum McManaman surged Latics forward down the right hand side, winning a corner from Kyle Naughton and Shaun Maloney stepped up with a set piece to provide Latics with an immediate equaliser on 11 minutes.

Maloney's beautifully floated cross was perfect for captain Emmerson Boyce to rise above defenders and power his header into the corner past Hugo Lloris.

On 24 minutes Latics nearly had themselves ahead when a long pass behind Spurs' defence saw Jordi Gomez beat the offside trap and tee up Arouna Kone on the edge of the area, only for the Ivorian to see his side footed lob beat Lloris but nestle on the roof of the net.

Five minutes later a precision tackle turned ugly for Latics when Maynor Figueroa prevented Jermain Defoe from shooting in the area but injured himself with the last ditch, sliding challenge.

The Honduran was forced off on a stretcher moments later with Ronnie Stam his replacement.

On the stroke of half time Spurs almost had their second lead of the game as the dangerous Defoe danced between defenders on the edge of the area and attempted to round the keeper.

Robles made up for his ninth minute mistake when he stretched out a long arm to push the ball out of Defoe's path and he reacted quickly again as the ball fell to Parker, only for the Spaniard's outstretched arm to come to the rescue.

Just four minutes after the restart for the second half Latics found themselves ahead when McManaman's emphatic effort almost ripped the netting off.

Moments before a warning shot was fired when Stam's cross was clawed out from the top corner by Lloris but, he stood no chance when it came to McManaman's effort.

Cutting in from the right side with excellent control, McManaman took no second thought other than to smash the ball left footed as it whistled beyond the keeper.

Latics were limited only to half chances after the goal but throughout the second half they attack with pace and power down the wings.

Tottenham attempted to build up possession but were continually frustrated as Latics showed spirit in defence.

With just a minute of normal time remaining and the home crowd biting their nails Spurs eventually got the equaliser.

A free kick down the right edge of Latics' area was firmly hit across goal and a cruel deflection off the back of Boyce's leg squeezed it beyond Robles.

Latics weren't deflated though and all wasn't over as they tried desperately for a late winner.

Last ditch defending proved crucial though as it was the visitors who nearly got a stoppage time goal when Robles punched away a Bale free kick into the danger zone and Huddlestone, Dempsey and Defoe all tried to drill the ball home.

Excellent blocks from Paul Scharner and Boyce kept them out, with James McCarthy hooking the ball clear as referee Martin Atkinson blew for full time.