Latics secure a crucial point in a thrilling game at the Britannia Stadium
STOKE CITY 2
Walters (pen) 77
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Watson (pen) 87
Caldwell sent off
Report by Nick Taylor
A Ben Watson penalty three minutes from time salvaged a vital point for Wigan Athletic at the Britannia Stadium, coming from behind with ten men.
Victor Moses had put Latics into a first-half lead, before a Jonathan Walters penalty which brought about a red card for captain Gary Caldwell in the process, and Cameron Jerome finish pushed the home side into the lead.
However, showing great character and composure Roberto Martinez's men found a way back into the game through Watson's late spot-kick after Hugo Rodallega was pulled down inside the area, finishing expertly into the left corner.
The game was as chaotic as the second-half weather, and it seemed as though the downpour and swirling winds were a sign of a changing game in which Wigan Athletic went in at half time 1-0 up.
Roberto Martinez opted not to go for five straight games without change, starting Rodallega up-
front in place of Conor Sammon.
The Colombian played a huge role on both goals; teeing up Moses on the stroke of the break with a pin-point low cross from the right which the winger turned in at the near post, before winning the pen moments before the end of 90 minutes.
The first-half was reminiscent of that fateful day back in May as Stoke launched balls into the penalty area from all sorts of angles and outlets but, Ali Al Habsi and his defence were on hand to keep them out.
Early free kicks and throw-ins by Rory Delap looked dangerous and the Potters would have taken the lead if it hadn't been for Latics' resident Omani, and a smart save at the back post from a Jermaine Pennant cross-shot.
Despite their best efforts, the home side rarely got a shot on target with Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters failing to get on the end of any inviting crosses or throws.
With the game looking like going into half time at 0-0, Figueroa almost opened the scoring as he attempted a repeat of two years ago when he scored from inside his own half.
As Stoke continued their long ball tactics, Latics hit them on the break to score the opener on the stroke of half time.
James McCarthy picked the ball up in his own half laying it off to Antolin Alcaraz who spread the ball wide to Ronnie Stam. From there a little flick of the ankle from Stam put Rodallega free down the right, he crossed inch perfectly and Moses slid in to make it 1-0.
After half time it was pretty much all the same as the home side continued to launch balls into the penalty area.
Latics were seemingly dealing with the pressure very well until the 75th minute when a moment of madness in the penalty area led to a Gary Caldwell red card for handball and a penalty for Stoke.
It came from a set piece too as the ball was launched into the box and onto Jerome's head. Caldwell was on the line to cover but had his arms raised and the penalty was given.
Walters was the man with the cool head as he slotted the ball low to Al Habsi's right.
The game then kicked into top gear as the ball was hit back and forth with Latics not giving up on the fight to get all three points.
Stoke had other ideas and when Crouch and Walters combined with headers in Latics' half, Jerome broke free down the left and stroked the ball past Al Habsi towards the far post to make the game 2-1 on 84 minutes.
It looked as though the boys in navy blue were dead and buried but when Rodallega proved a nuisance to the Stoke defence once more he was dragged down by defender Ryan Shotton just a minute later and another penalty was given.
Ben Watson was subbed on for David Jones and slotted the ball home to draw the game level at 2-2.
It wasn't the prettiest game of football you will ever see but the drama involved was of the highest standard.
Stoke almost took all three points at the end when they continued to put throw-in after throw-in into Latics' penalty box but, the defence held in strong and Latics got the point they at least deserved.
Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson (Shotton, 50), Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Pennant, Palacios, Delap, Etherington (Jerome, 73), Walters (Jones, 90+3), Crouch
Subs: Begovic, Upson, Diao, Whitehead
Latics: Al Habsi, Stam, Figueroa, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Jones (Watson, 86), Diame, McCarthy, Gomez (Gohouri, 78), Moses, Rodallega
Subs: Pollitt, McArthur, Crusat, Di Santo, Sammon