Nobody has been feeling Wigan Athletic's goal shortage more than Henri Camara. While his side had gone two months without scoring in a home Premier League game, the Senegalese striker had not netted in the top flight for almost two years.
His opportunities have often been limited, both at the JJB Stadium and on loan at West Ham United, but he made full use of the one Steve Bruce presented him with last night by scoring the winner only five minutes after his half-time introduction.
A deserved first-ever home victory over Everton it was, too, for a side who consequently climbed three places to 15th. Not that their manager, who celebrates a year in charge tomorrow, wanted to go overboard.
"It was one of our poorer performances," he said. "We gave the ball away far too cheaply and the one bit of quality was the goal. I wouldn't say it was an inspired move by me either. It clearly wasn't Olivier Kapo's night but you hope your substitutes will bring a spark and Henri did that."
Amid much Wigan nervousness as a result of winning only once in eight matches, Everton started the brighter, only to tail off alarmingly. Unbeaten in five matches, and victorious in their previous two away trips, they were a letdown.
Everton's best moment was the early break in which Ayegbeni Yakubu picked out Louis Saha for a powerful first-time shot that demanded a terrific save by Chris Kirkland low to his left.
That Saha later went off rubbing his hamstring and James Vaughan will be out for up to three months with a knee injury suffered in training were further down-sides for their manager David Moyes. "I was hoping for more from us," he admitted. "It was a poor performance."
Emile Heskey's aerial power began to expose chinks in Everton's previously unruffled defence, the first of the fit-again striker's nod-downs leading to a twisting header over the bar from Wilson Palacios from six yards following Antonio Valencia's short ball back in.
With such finishing, no wonder the JJB Stadium had witnessed fewer Premier League goals this season than any other top-flight venue.
The breakthrough came when Valencia cut inside Joleon Lescott following Michael Brown's long diagonal pass and played a measured low centre beyond Howard to set up the decisive sliding tap-in. Remarkably, it was Camara's first League goal since December 2006.
Everton's response was negligible. Though Yakubu exchanged passes with Victor Anichebe to blaze over, they would have been out of the game had it not been for Howard, who saved acrobatically from Valencia.
Goal: Camara (51) 1-0.
Wigan Athletic (4-5-1): Kirkland; Taylor, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa; Valencia, Cattermole, Brown, Kapo (Camara, h-t), Palacios; Heskey. Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), Kilbane, Routledge, De Ridder, Cywka, Koumas.
Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Neville (Baines, 85), Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott; Cahill, Osman, Fellaini, Arteta; Yakubu, Saha (Anichebe, 65). Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Castillo, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Gosling.
Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).
Booked: Wigan Figueroa
Man of the match: Cattermole.
Attendance: 18,344.Reuse content