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16:56 4th December 2010


Latics battle from behind twice to earn valuable point against Potters

OG Collins 30
Cleverley 40

Huth 18
Etherington 31

Report by Paul Chialton

A thrilling afternoon at the DW Stadium ended in a 2-2 with Latics twice coming from behind to secure a point against Stoke City.

The visitors fortuitously took the lead early on when Robert Huth's long-range free-kick deflected off Momo Diame and past the wrong-footed Ali Al Habsi.

The home side then received their own slice of luck when Ben Watson stepped-up to take a free-kick from the left-wing following a foul on the excellent Tom Cleverley.

His low-whipped cross ricocheted off Danny Collins and into the bottom corner to bring the score level.

The goal lifted the crowd and a cold, chilly night exploded into life, with the visitors hitting a quick response. Ricardo Fuller allowed space to play the ball across the face of goal for the lurking Matthew Etherington to convert.

It was a frustrating blow for Roberto Martinez's side, but they were not to be undone, putting pressure on the opposition defence and coming close when Charles N'Zogbia crossed for Hendry Thomas who was taken by surprise and missed a golden opportunity himself.

However Cleverley was on hand to tie things up again, jinxing past two players on the edge of the area before firing in low and seeing his shot glance off Rory Delap and past Asmir Begovic, a fantastic and well-deserved response from Latics.

At half-time the game could have gone either way and it nearly did on a number of occasions, Mauro Boselli forcing Begovic into a superb double-save shortly after the break and N'Zogbia weaving into the area before hitting the post.

At the other end Ali Al Habsi produced a magnificent save from Kenwyne Jones' close-range header to keep the score even, the defence on the whole standing up well to Stoke's attacking threat.

An important point then for Latics who looked dangerous on the attack and with goals coming from the midfield will go into next weekend's clash with Everton full of confidence.

Al Habsi: Gohouri, S. Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa (Stam, 73); Thomas, Diame; N'Zogbia, Watson, Cleverley; Boselli

Subs: Pollitt, Gomez, McArthur, Boyce, McManaman, Mustoe

Stoke: Begovic; Higginbotham, Collins, Huth, Shawcross, Delap; Walters (Whelan, 71), Whitehead, Etherington; Fuller (Tuncay, 83), Jones

Subs: Sorensen, Gudjohnsen, Diao, Faye, Shotton

    Data provided by Press Association