Disappointing defeat as injury leaves Hugo Rodallega facing up to three months on the sidelines
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Di Santo 31
Report by Iain McMullen
A brave performance from Latics went unrewarded today as they suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
The team travelled to Merseyside looking to get back on track after two lacklustre results against Manchester City and Crystal Palace.
Roberto Martinez made three changes to the side that lost at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, bringing in James McCarthy, Jordi Gomez and new signing Patrick van Aanholt, who was starting his first Barclays Premier League game for the club.
Fellow new boys Albert Crusat and Shaun Maloney were also named on a strong looking bench for Latics.
The home side had the luxury of fielding the same XI that drew 2-2 against Aston Villa last weekend and also named fit again Jonny Heitinga and Real Madrid loan-signing Royston Drenthe as substitutes.
David Moyes' men began brightly with Leighton Baines looking dangerous down the left flank, the Latics' old boy whipping in a dangerous cross within the opening minute of the game.
The first chance of the encounter came in the fifth minute when Seamus Coleman brought a smart save out of Ali Al Habsi at his near post.
Latics soon settled however, and the game opened up with both sides finding increasing amounts of space in the opposing half.
Ben Watson was a growing influence sat just in front of the makeshift backline of Lopez, Caldwell, Figueroa and van Aanholt - marshaling the twin threat of Fellaini and Rodwell with assurance.
There was some nice football on display from both sides but, in truth neither goalkeeper had much to do in the opening 30 minutes.
Just after the half-hour mark however, the game burst into life when Franco Di Santo rifled in a thunderbolt shot from the left hand edge of the area which gave Tim Howard no chance.
The Argentine's strike looked to take a slight deflection off Tony Hibbert but it was a tremendous effort from Di Santo to notch his third goal of the season.
Latics' fans were still celebrating when the home side grabbed a quick equaliser through Toffee's captain, Phil Jagielka.
The England international reacted first after Tim Cahill had struck the crossbar, diving bravely to head the ball past Al Habsi.
Everton began the second half in a positive manner; with Seamus Coleman whistling a shot just post the post within the opening minute.
Latics remained composed and withstood a good spell of pressure from their hosts, who used the ball well in an effort to force the initiative.
There were a few groans of frustration beginning to emanate from the home support as the half wore on, especially as Latics began to enjoy a good spell of possession themselves.
Di Santo was proving a constant thorn in the side of his marker as he cut in from the left to good effect, while Hugo Rodalllega was also causing problems to the Everton backline.
As the half wore on, so Latics grew in confidence and they were finding increasing joy venturing forward in search of a second goal.
Patrick van Aanholt went close in the 76th minute when his surging run finished with a sweetly struck shot that flew just wide of Howard in the Everton goal.
Despite Latics' attacking presence however, it was the home side who grabbed the goal after a moment of brilliance from Apostolos Vellios.
The Greek international received the ball on the edge of the area before feeding the ball out wide to Hibbert.
The full-back played in a sublime ball which Vellios met with a glorious header that left Al Habsi stranded.
The goal was probably harsh on Roberto Martinez's men, but it sent Goodison into raptures.
Latics' almost stunned the crowd immediately however, as David Jones' hopeful effort caught a deflection to loop over Howard.
The American was relieved to see the ball to bounce off the crossbar, before being cleared to safety.
Latics' misery was compounded in the 90th minute when Rodallega was stretched off, and Royston Drenthe fired home a third to seal it for the toffees minutes later.
Rodallega will now undergo scans to discover the full extent of the ligament injury and the Colombian hitman could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Distin, Jagielka (c), Fellaini, Rodwell Osman, Bilyaletdinov (Drenthe, 58), Coleman (Vellios, 66), Cahill (Stracqualursi, 82)
Unused Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Neville, Barkley
Latics: Al Habsi, McCarthy, Caldwell, Watson, Di Santo, Moses, Gomez (Jones, 70), Rodallega (Maloney, 90), van Aanholt, Lopez, Figueroa.
Subs: Pollitt, McArthur, Sammon, Thomas, Crusat