Scroll to photostream above left for match photos. For stats, click on the statistics tab. Match reaction below.
Wigan Athletic moved out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone after a second-half fightback gave them claim a vital point in a 2-2 draw at Stoke City.
The Potters took the lead in the 23rd minute when Ryan Shawcross capitalised on a Latics defensive mistake to hook the ball in and Peter Crouch made it 2-0 three minutes after the interval, following up Charlie Adam's parried shot.
At that point Stoke looked on course for what would have been their first victory in five league matches but two minutes later James McArthur pulled a goal back for the visitors by completing a neat move and Franco Di Santo then levelled with a 61st-minute volley.
The result moves Wigan from 19th place up to 17th in the table, level on points with 18th-placed Aston Villa, who lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle, while Stoke stay 10th.
Potters manager Tony Pulis had mentioned in the build-up to the game how Wigan - who the Staffordshire outfit had beaten only once since gaining promotion to the Barclays Premier League in 2008 - were "something of a bogey team" for his side and in his formation for the contest, he opted to match the Latics' defensive structure, playing with wing-backs either side of three centre-halves.
It looked in the early stages as if he might have to adjust the personnel he had selected at the back when a nasty collision of heads between Robert Huth and Di Santo led to a stoppage of several minutes. Huth appeared to have come off worse and seemed set to be substituted but, after being bandaged, like Di Santo he continued playing.
On a pitch made slick by a spell of heavy rain, it was Stoke who then settled quickest, with Jon Walters skewing an effort wide and Wigan league debutant Roman Golobart having to make a clearance to prevent a flick-on from reported QPR target Crouch reaching Adam.
Adam then drilled the ball just the wrong side of the post after collecting a pass from Matthew Etherington, while a tame Di Santo effort was all Wigan could muster in response and moments later the hosts' pressure yielded a goal.
Adam delivered a free-kick into the box and Jean Beausejour attempted to clear it but could only nod the ball against team-mate James McCarthy, sending it into the path of Stoke skipper Shawcross who finished from close range to register his first goal of the season.
The lively Adam then saw a dipping effort evade the top corner before Wigan began to show a greater threat towards the end of the first half, with one cross from Beausejour cannoning behind off McArthur and another being spilled by Asmir Begovic, which no-one could take advantage of before a clearance was made.
The Potters were back in the ascendancy at the start of the second half, doubling their lead within three minutes of the restart. Wigan's January signing Roger Espinoza gave the ball away and Stoke's resulting break saw Adam hit a low shot which Ali Al Habsi parried, allowing Crouch - who had not scored since September - to slot in.
Wigan's reply was virtually immediate, with Espinoza making a more positive contribution by sliding in a through-ball which McArthur clipped home delightfully. Then after Adam had struck a free-kick wide, Espinoza's redemption continued as he fashioned a cross which McArthur headed back for Di Santo to volley in.
It then required a great save from Begovic to deny McArthur as Wigan looked to complete their comeback by snatching all three points.
Stoke substitute Cameron Jerome subsequently wasted a chance to win it for the hosts and Di Santo met a cross in front of goal late on but was just unable to guide the ball in as the fixture finished 2-2 for the fifth time in 10 meetings.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis: “With our record against Wigan, I was just hoping that we could sit on the two-goal lead for the next 10 minutes after Crouchy scored. They scored their first goal from us switching off. We’re letting people run off us which is what we did today and that cost us. We have got to start doing the basics again.
“We’ve talked about it and certain individuals have got to do the work off the ball as well as on the ball. We’re playing in one of the best leagues in the world and you don’t just play on the ball, you have to put even more effort into playing off the ball as well.
Ever since I’ve been at this football club, we’ve been a side who will work their socks off. Over the last few weeks though, we’ve not been doing the basics when we’ve not had the ball. The disappointing thing is it’s cost us tonight after we’ve done some good things.
When they got their second goal, we looked really tired and that was probably down to all the work we had to do in chasing Manchester City in the [FA] cup tie at the weekend.”
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez: "I feel we went into half-time with Stoke having too much to show for it. The goal was from a free-kick where we were very unfortunate - we don't clear it, it hits James McCarthy on the back of his head and we are 1-0 down. That was the only shot on target they had. Then in the second half I thought we grew into the game and controlled it.
"One counter-attack gave them a two-goal lead and I don't think there are many teams at the Britannia Stadium that would be able to come back from that. But from that point on, you look at the way we kept the ball and the way we kept showing that character. There was a two-goal deficit but we kept playing the same way and you never saw a player losing their composure.
"We scored two goals which were as good as you are going to see in this league from open play, which was very difficult to do against this Stoke side. Then we restricted Stoke to no corners. That is down to the hard work of the players and at the end, if I'm honest with you, I think the players were very disappointed that we dropped two points today.
"But it is something we need to improve a little bit more - you can't be that dominant in the second half but concede two goals. That is something we need to address, because I do feel we played like a top team in the second half."
|02 Feb 2013||v Arsenal (A)|
|09 Feb 2013||v Reading (H)|
|23 Feb 2013||v Fulham (A)|
|02 Mar 2013||v West Ham (H)|
|10 Mar 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|16 Mar 2013||v West Brom (H)|