Honours even at the Hawthorns as Latics are pegged back by West Brom
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Report by Paul Chialton
A frantic, at times scrappy, game at the Hawthorns ended with both sides sharing the spoils when either could quite easily have taken all three.
Charles N'Zogbia and Ben Watson, who spent a brief spell at West Brom on-loan last season, grabbed the goals that brought Latics from behind into the lead.
Peter Odemwingie had put the home side ahead against the run of play early on, fed through by Jerome Thomas before slotting home from the edge of the area having got round the back of Steve Gohouri, although replays showed a clear foul on James McCarthy at the start of their counter attack.
The comeback was superb, not panicking but sticking to the game-plan building patiently and slowly but surely taking control of the game.
Watson was fantastic in the middle, dropping deep to help protect the defence and dictate Latics' flow.
Franco Di Santo was again tireless up top and played a pivotal role in the equaliser, playing a neat one-two with Charles N'Zogbia in the right corner before Youssouf Mulumbu fouled the Frenchman on the edge of the area.
Up stepped N'Zogbia to bend one round the wall, helped along by a deflection off Mulumbu and past the helpless Boaz Myhill.
Moments later N'Zogbia saw a fizzed effort saved from a tight angle after excellent work to round three defenders.
But on the edge of half-time the goal that had been coming came as Maynor Figueroa powered down the left-wing before being pulled back by Gonzalo Jara, free-kick.
Watson curled a beauty to the far post that passed everyone including Myhill and into the back of the net.
And it didn't stop there as Roberto Martinez's men had yet more opportunities to stretch their lead after the break.
Di Santo found himself through one goal but his stabbed effort was well saved and a trademark weaving run from N'Zogbia opened up an opportunity on the penalty spot only for the West Brom 'keeper to again deny the away side.
West Brom started to force their way back into the game, with Thomas a constant threat and the introduction of Somen Tchoyi and Marc-Antoine Fortune causing further problems.
It was Fortune who got the break ten minutes before the end, finding half-a-yard inside the area and latching onto Thomas' cross to trickle home a header past the wrong-footed Ali Al Habsi, who yet again pulled off some magnificent saves to keep West Brom at bay.
Chances at either end of the pitch then, and some fantastic saves from both goalkeepers to deny a winning goal.
Latics: Al Habsi; Boyce, G. Caldwell, Gohouri, Figueroa (S. Caldwell, 71_; Diame, McCarthy (Thomas, 62); N'Zogbia, Watson, Rodallega; Di Santo (Moses, 76)
Subs: Pollitt, Stam, Gomez, Moses, McArthur
West Brom: Myhill; Jara (Reid, 76), Cech, Olsson, Scharner, Thomas, Vela (Tchoyi, 59), Brunt, Mulumbu, Cox (Fortune, 66), Odemwingie
Subs: Carson, Shorey, Morrison, Tamas
Latics: Al Habsi; Boyce, G. Caldwell, Gohouri, Figueroa; Diame, McCarthy; N'Zogbia, Watson, Rodallega; Di Santo
Subs: Pollitt, Stam, S. Caldwell, Gomez, Moses, McArthur, Thomas
West Brom: Myhill; Jara, Cech, Olsson, Scharner, Thomas, Vela, Brunt, Mulumbu, Cox, Odemwingie
Subs: Carson, Shorey, Morrison, Reid, Tchoyi, Fortune, Tamas