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15:00 12th December 2009


Rodallega late penalty miss keeps game a draw

Stoke City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Tuncay 37, Shawcross 73.

Wigan Athletic . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 (1)
Boyce 15, Figueroa 71.

First of all what a game!

Latics were heroic in the face  of Stoke's ear-ringing atmosphere and ultra-physical game-plan.

Goals from Emmerson Boyce and an absolute wonder-strike from Maynor Figueroa twice saw Latics take the lead, but unable to hold onto to it as Stoke forced their way to two equalisers through Tuncay and Ryan Shawcross.

And then, with minutes left, Jordi Gomez the victim of kick after kick from the opposition, was brought down in the area with referee Mike Dean having no other option but to award the spot-kick. Up stepped Hugo Rodallega, Latics' leading scorer and a man you would put your house on to fire into the bck of the net and win all three points. But Thomas Sorensen read the situation well and dramatically saved to keep his side from defeat.

But back to Figueroa's stunner, a goal you'll watch time and time again and never get bored! A foul 10 yeards inside the Latics-half, yes Latics half, sprung the Honduran's senses to life, and spotting Sorensen off his line attempted an outrageous effort that sailed over the Dane and into the net, sending the travelling fans into rapture. Don't worry if you missed it there'll be countless replays of this one!

But although a point at the Brittania is one to savour, there will be a slight feeling of two points lost. Boyce, who had to be substituted at half-time due to a head injury, put his side into the lead pouncing on Sorensen's save to bravely head over the line.

Tuncay then broke the offside trap before half-time to slot past Chris Kirkland and equalise before Figueroa stunned the stadium 25 minutes into the second period.

But whilst Latics were still in dream-land after that goal, Ryan Shawcross pounced on a Stoke corner to head home the equaliser.

Rodallega will be bitterly disappointed with his penalty miss, but should look back on a game he played tremendously well in, backed up superbly by Charles N'Zogbia, Jason Koumas and Jordi Gomez who both made their first starts since playing away to Arsenal.

So as Latics travel back up the M6 thinking of what could, and should, have been, it's has to be noted that an excellent point, the first in the team's orange strip, was well earned.

Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Wilkinson, Delap, Diao (Whelan 62), Etherington, Whitehead, Fuller (Beattie 83), Tuncay.
Subs: Simonsen, Higginbotham, Beattie, Sidibe, Pugh, Collins.

Wigan:Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce (Sinclair 47), Figueroa, Diame, Scharner, N'Zogbia, Gomez, Koumas (Scotland 78), Rodallega.
Subs: Kingson, Amaya, Cho, de Ridder, McCarthy.
    Data provided by Press Association