Gomez scores again as Latics get well deserved point
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Report by Nick Taylor
After a spirited home performance at the DW Stadium, and with time running out for the home side, Wigan Athletic produced a thunderous finale against Chelsea on Saturday evening, as Jordi Gomez popped with an equalising goal in the dying minute to rescue a valuable point for Latics.
Latics looked up for the game from the off and despite the cold conditions, the players didn't freeze at any point in the game even in the face of going behind.
Roberto Martinez played the same team as the one that won 2-1 away at West Bromwich Albion and the move certainly proved a master stroke.
Chelsea came off the back of a victory over league leaders Manchester City but Latics were the ones who looked in a buoyant mood.
That mood was set after just one minute when Antolin Alcaraz played a long ball to Conor Sammon who caused Chelsea keeper Petr Cech to almost carry the ball outside of the box.
Latics looked controlling on the ball but it was Chelsea who almost took the lead on 13 minutes when John Terry ventured forward, firing a shot low to Ali Al Habsi's left but, the Omani keeper made a brilliant save.
Al Habsi was on hand again for a similar shot from Oriol Romeu but this time down to the other side.
Victor Moses was once again the focal point for attack but when Conor Sammon twisted and turned inside the box and the ball fell to Moses, he couldn't quite beat Branislav Ivanovic at the back post.
It was the commitment and effort of the move that was the most impressive as the whole Latics team put their lives on the line.
The first half ended with a penalty claim and a narrow miss.
Moses found space in the box and fired a volley towards goal that seemingly rebounded off Ivanovic's arm but the referee waved play on.
The tricky winger was once again in the spotlight when minutes later he was a toe away from putting the ball in the net after a pass across goal from David Jones trickled past him.
It wasn't just at the front end that Latics were putting in the effort and special praise has to be held for Captain Gary Caldwell who was clearing up at the back with relative ease.
The second half started brightly for Latics too, with Gomez hitting the side netting and Maynor Figueroa shooting just wide of Cech's goal.
On 58 minutes though, Latics hard work was undone as Daniel Sturridge found himself in acres of space down the right, beat his defender and then smashed the ball passed Al Habsi from a very acute angle.
The goal was one of very few chances for Chelsea as Latics upped the tempo and looked like a real winning team.
Moses, Sammon and Jones proved a constant threat as they worked the ball up the pitch with fluency and belief.
On 65 minutes, Figueroa also found his way forward, running from inside his own half passed Chelsea defenders and his left foot drive from the edge of the area really tested Cech.
The pressure was building and on 72 minutes Martinez threw the dice and brought on both Franco di Santo and Hugo Rodallega.
Both gave a brilliant bite to the team and a sense of urgency with their fresh legs causing the Chelsea defence all sorts of problems.
With just two minutes to go, the pair linked up down the left hand side as Di Santo's through ball found Rodallega in the box. The Colombian's shot was parried by Cech and dropped into the path of Gomez who arrived late on the six yard box to stroke the ball home with his left foot.
Gomez pulled the strings in the midfield all game and his seemingly effortless distribution to the wings and striker was something to behold.
Latics could have even won the game with the amount of pressure they put on Chelsea in the four minutes of added time.
As the home side showed their passion and determination, there was almost a golden opportunity to clinch the victory as Di Santo was taken down on the edge of the area but nothing was given.
The ball cleared. The whistle blown and that was it.
Latics pick up a vital point in what is to be a testing month, moving onto 13 points just one away from getting out of the relegation zone and just a win away from 15th position.
Latics: Al Habsi, Stam, Figueroa, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Diame, Jones (Rodallega 72), McCarthy, Gomez, Moses, Sammon (Di Santo 72)
Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Watson, McArthur, Crusat
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Cole, Ivanovic, Terry, Romeu (Kalou 45), Lampard, Meireles, Mata (Mikel 65), Sturridge (Malouda 79), Drogba
Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, McEachran, Torres