Watson comes off bench to rescue point for Wigan

Stoke 2 Wigan 2

Ben Watson came off the bench to rescue a valuable point for 10-man Wigan in an ultimately thrilling clash with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

Victor Moses put the struggling Latics ahead on the stroke of half-time, but Gary Caldwell was then sent off for deliberate handball in the 76th minute and Jonathan Walters converted the resulting penalty to draw eighth-placed Stoke level.

When substitute Cameron Jerome - whose header had led to Caldwell's dismissal - put the hosts ahead with six minutes left, things looked bleak for Wigan, but Watson then scored a late penalty of his own - with his first touch - after Ryan Shotton had been penalised for a tug on Hugo Rodallega's shirt.

Roberto Martinez's side remain in the Barclays Premier League relegation zone, but the Spaniard will surely take heart from the fight his side showed in salvaging something from the game.

The visitors had slipped a place to 19th by kick-off following Blackburn's sensational 3-2 victory at Old Trafford, and they were forced onto the back foot early on.

Jordi Gomez and Rodallega each warmed the palms of home goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen as Wigan settled, yet Stoke remained on top and Robert Huth headed narrowly wide from a Rory Delap throw-in.

Latics stopper Ali Al Habsi was soon inconvenienced by another Delap missile, before the veteran midfielder fired narrowly wide from 20 yards.

At the other end, Ronnie Stam was given the opportunity to shoot from distance and Sorensen had to be alert to tip away his dipping effort.

After the fit-again Andy Wilkinson had gone close for Stoke in an increasingly open game, Rodallega then latched onto a long ball and found himself through on goal, but Ryan Shawcross intervened with a crucial clearing header after the striker had lifted the ball over the onrushing Sorensen.

Huth then headed over from another set-piece and Marc Wilson tried his luck for the hosts with a long-range effort that sailed wide.

If that was ambitious, then Maynor Figueroa's subsequent shot from inside his own half represented the most optimistic of attempts, although the same player had scored from a similar distance at this ground in December 2009.

Stam prompted fury among the Stoke support - and earned himself a booking - shortly before the interval when he blasted the ball into the crowd after it had gone out of play.

Wigan then moved ahead in the 45th minute as Stam played in Rodallega down the right channel and the Colombian crossed for Moses to slot home with a clinical first-time finish into the roof of the net.

Stoke began the second half with renewed vigour, but were forced into a change in the 49th minute as Wilkinson limped off to be replaced by Shotton.

As had been the case in the opening period, the Latics weathered the early pressure and gradually settled into their stride.

Yet they survived a major let-off just before the hour mark when another long throw from Delap picked out Huth, whose firm header struck a post before bouncing back into the arms of a grateful Al Habsi.

Although Wigan were content to play largely on the counter, they retained an attacking threat and the impressive Mohamed Diame saw a 30-yard strike deflect narrowly off target before Rodallega nodded wide from a corner.

As the home supporters grew increasingly frustrated, Tony Pulis opted to introduce Jerome in place of Matthew Etherington with 17 minutes remaining and the move reaped immediate rewards.

After Peter Crouch had diverted a deep cross from the right back across the area, Jerome's goalbound header was blocked by the arm of Wigan skipper Caldwell, who was duly sent off.

Walters drilled the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner and Stoke were soon pouring forward in search of a second.

Jerome was the man to provide it, the former Birmingham man slotting a cool finish into the far corner after flick-ons from Crouch and Walters had sent him clear.

However, Wigan were then awarded a penalty of their own after Shotton grabbed Rodallega's shirt in the box.

Watson climbed off the bench to take the spot-kick and the midfielder calmly sent Sorensen the wrong way with his first touch of the game.

Huth saw another header fly wide as the final whistle approached, while appeals for a second Stoke penalty were waved away after Shawcross took a tumble in stoppage-time.

PA

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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?