Latics dominate but, Baggies peg back to draw
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Report by Nick Taylor
Wigan Athletic could have lifted themselves out of the relegation zone today against West Brom and despite taking a 54th minute lead through James McArthur, an old foe in the form of Paul Scharner crept in to equalise at the back post as the game finished 1-1.
It should arguably have been the biggest win of the season for Latics but for Baggies keeper Ben Foster and the woodwork keeping them out in a game that the home side dominated for the full 90 minutes.
Roberto Martinez made two changes to the side that earned a draw away at Norwich City last Sunday as the impressive Shaun Maloney was brought in for Jordi Gomez and Franco di Santo came in for the injured Hugo Rodallega.
Latics started as the meaned to go on with the first shot of the game coming inside the first minute as Di Santo battled against the strikers but, couldn't see his shot on target.
Within the first four minutes of the game, Di Santo had two more chances and the afternoon had a big win written all over it.
West Brom clearly hadn't read the script and nor had lady luck as both Emmerson Boyce and James McCarthy hit the crossbar inside the first half.
First Boyce found space at the back post and his stooped header cannoned off the bar, then it was the Irishman's turn as he side footed the ball from around the penalty spot only to see the hand of Foster tip the ball onto the bar.
The keeper than had the whereabouts to scramble towards the back post and block Victor Moses from putting in the rebound.
Latics pressed and pressed right up until half time but, Foster and the Baggies' defence stood firm and even when the keeper had a mix up at the back with Liam Ridgewell, the ball drifted across an open goal with nobody to stick it in.
The home side started the second half in the same way and after just five minutes, Maloney had tested Foster from range.
The tricky Scotsman proved just why he had been given a start with a fantastic peformance as he chased every stray ball and used his creativity to restart moves for Latics.
On 54 minutes the goal finally came and was one of grit and determination as Moses dribbled through the West Brom defence taking on defenders left, right and centre down the byline and smashing his cross into the path of McArthur who scrambled the ball home for 1-0.
Latics looked like they had West Brom reeling as both Chris Brunt and Paul Scharner found themselves receiving yellow cards.
That frustration didn't last long and was soon abolished as Brunt whipped in a corner and Scharner found space at the back post to put a low header past the defence and into the goal for 1-1.
More and more chances came for Latics as they looked to regain control of the game but, the composure just wasn't there as Boyce and substitute Callum McManaman both squandered chances in the box.
The best chance of the game came to another substitute in the form of Mohamed Diame.
The Senegalese midfielder had all the goal to aim at from close distance but, his shot at the front post went wayward and hit team mate Di Santo who was stood yards wide of the net.
On 92 minutes Latics were at it again as Albert Crusat jinked through the defence but, his shot was turned wide at the front post by Foster who was determined to keep Latics at bay.
The point at the DW Stadium draws Latics level with both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Queens Park Rangers.
Latics team: Al Habsi, Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa (Crusat 89), Beausejour, McArthur, McCarthy (Diame 79), Maloney (McManaman 79), Moses, Di Santo
Unused subs: Kirkland, Stam, Watson, Gomez
West Brom team: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Ridgewell, Shorey, Morrison, Mulumbu (Andrews 79), Scharner, Brunt, Thomas (Dorrans 86), Long
Unused subs: Daniels, Dawson, Tamas, Cox, Fortune