Wigan and Stoke continue to hunt for their first league victory of 2013 after they fought out a thoroughly entertaining 2-2 draw at the Britannia Stadium.
The game looked over four minutes into the second half as Peter Crouch doubled Stoke’s lead, building on Ryan Shawcross's goal midway through the first half. A spirited comeback from Wigan saw James McArthur and Franco Di Santo score fine goals to earn the visitors a point, though, with former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza playing a part in both goals.
After a quiet opening to the match with both sides having nice possession without ever posing a threat on goal, the deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute through captain Shawcross. Charlie Adam delivered what looked like being a wasted free kick, but the Potters got a bit of luck as Jean Beausejour headed his clearance onto the back of James McCarthy, and as the ball looped up in the air Shawcross volleyed it past goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi from close range.
With the home side ahead at the break the second half could have been a fairly quiet affair, but four minutes in Stoke doubled its lead through Crouch. Espinoza lost the ball inside the Potters' penalty area, and the loose ball was quickly cleared to Adam in the middle of the pitch. The Scot raced away from two defenders and fired a low shot towards the bottom corner. Al Habsi did well to get to the shot low down to his left but he could only parry the ball to Crouch, who had the simple job of tapping the ball into the open goal.
That could have killed Wigan off, but it seemed to galvanize the visitors instead, and seconds later they had a goal back through McArthur. Espinoza was involved again, this time the Honduran playing a neat pass in behind the Stoke defense for McArthur to run onto. The midfielder seemed to ghost in behind Shawcross and fired past Asmir Begovic with the outside of his right foot.
With their spirits lifted Wigan got themselves more and more into the game, and just on the hour the Latics got an equalizer through Di Santo. Another neat delivery from Espinoza was the key, as he floated a neat cross into the back post where McArthur had drifted away from his marker. He managed to head the ball back across goal, and Di Santo volleyed past Begovic from six yards.
Both sides pushed for a winner in the final 30 minutes but Begovic did well to deny McArthur twice whilst Stoke huffed and puffed without any real punch upfront. American defender Geoff Cameron made his return from a minor hamstring injury that kept him out of the club's FA Cup match over the weekend.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ryan Shawcross
- James McArthur
- Peter Crouch
- Roger Espinoza
- Franco Di Santo