Bravery is not enough for Martinez's foreign legion

Wigan Athletic 1 Everton 1

It is tempting to consider Wigan Athletic a poor man's Arsenal – and not just for the youthful, multi-national make-up of their team. In Roberto Martinez, they have a manager who, like Arsène Wenger, believes his team have been short on luck this season but who is sticking resolutely to his principles, even with the relegation trapdoor yawning.

Wigan lie third-bottom, trailing Blackpool on goal difference, but they are still trying to play their way out of peril and their efforts earned the applause of Martinez despite the frustration of two dropped points against Everton.

The Spaniard said: "When you are in a relegation battle and you want to play football you need to have real heart. The hardest thing is to get on the ball and be brave to link up play and open teams up.

"The bravery was magnificent. I thought we did everything we had to do to win the game – probably the key was when we created chances in the second half – we had to get that second goal which gives you the three points."

Wigan have beaten top-10 opposition only once this term but must have thought a second victory beckoned when first Charles N'Zogbia capitalised on James McCarthy's clever pass to curl them in front and then goalkeeper Ali al-Habsi saved Mikel Arteta's spot-kick, following N'Zogbia's foul on the lively Leon Osman.

There was plenty of craft and endeavour from a Wigan midfield and attack – all aged 25 or under – but, as Martinez lamented, they failed to take advantage of their superiority in a second period where substitute Victor Moses caught the eye along with Everton's busy goalkeeper, Tim Howard.

Unfortunately for Wigan, they not only backed up the pre-game statistic showing they had the division's lowest shots-to-goals conversion rate, but also proved rather more accurate at shooting themselves in the foot.

Everton, whose faint hopes of catching Liverpool effectively ended with this draw, "didn't look like scoring," according to defender Phil Jagielka yet received the lifeline of a second spot-kick when Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega handled a Leighton Baines corner. Baines, who played for Wigan in three divisions in a six-year spell, duly denied his old team victory.

"I don't think we have had much luck this season, we've had to work really hard for everything and today's performance was a reflection of that. You won't see many penalties like that but that's just the anxiety and how much the players care," said Martinez.

With the Spaniard targeting five more points, their ability to continue playing in the face of anxiety will be pivotal – not least when West Ham come to the DW Stadium for Wigan's final home game on Sunday week.

Referee L Mason (Lancashire). Att 17,051.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935