Hit and miss for Rodallega as Wigan draw comfort

Wigan Athletic 1 Bolton Wanderers 1
Click to follow
The Independent Football

The sight of two Wigan players squaring up to each other,finger-jabbing at slack marking, in the dying minutes served notice of the home side's new-found belief. It may still be an uphill task, but Steven Caldwell and Antolin Alcaraz showed that Wigan are not willing to give up their Premier League status without a fight.

Although they surrendered a two-goal lead late on against Newcastle last time out and squandered further points here, Johan Elmander cancelling out Hugo Rodallega's opener, they should have moved further away from the League's lower reaches.

Those back-to-back home drubbings against Blackpool and Chelsea seem less painful with every game. "The team is starting to gel together, which is pleasing,", said Wigan's manager, Roberto Martinez. "There were signs there of the potential we have got.

"I was proud of our second-half performance and you are starting to see the combinations. People get affected by results but that's where we are at the moment.

"After we scored there's a five- minute spell when you need to know what to do to impose yourself. But we limited an effective Bolton side to few chances all game. We had to work hard in three [transfer] windows to bein this position. We went for a young group of players fullof potential."

After a tepid first half the game finally sparked into life after the break as a sweeping move saw Rodallega score low into the corner. Yet Wigan held the advantage for only seven minutes before Elmander bundled in the leveller, poking home from close range following Kevin Davies's header into the danger zone.

Then Rodallega, who had a mixed afternoon despite scoring, somehow headed wide late on as honours ended even. "We went behind to a goal which was offside," complained the Wanderers manager, Owen Coyle. "It was not close, [Franco] Di Santo was clearly two yards offside and we could have felt sorry for ourselves. But the spirit and belief we have got us a deserved equaliser from Johan."

One sour note for Wigan was a nasty-looking ankle injury to James McCarthy, but Martinez exonerated Fabrice Muamba from any blame for the tackle.

"It was a negative note and it doesn't look good," he said. "He's gone to the hospital and we will get the results in the next 48 hours. He's young and fit and we hope it's not as bad as it looks."

Attendance: 17,100

Referee: Howard Webb

Man of the match: N'Zogbia

Match rating: 6/10