Scroll to Photostream above left for match photos, click on the statistics tab for match stats; manager reaction below.
Emmerson Boyce’s late own goal saw relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic denied a precious victory against UEFA Champions League-chasing Tottenham Hotspur as they shared a 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium.
The Latics, 18th in the Barclays Premier League, would have moved out of the drop zone had they been able to hang on for victory, but having come from behind to take the lead after conceding early on through a defensive mix-up, fell just short of securing all three points.
Gareth Bale put Tottenham in front in the ninth minute, capitalising on some ponderous play by Maynor Figueroa and Joel Robles, but Wigan were level in the 11th thanks to Boyce’s header. Callum McManaman’s excellent piledriver then put them 2-1 up four minutes after half-time, but Boyce was unlucky to find the net again with an own-goal in the closing stages. Wigan's frustration was compounded by the news that Maynor Figueroa may be out for the rest of the season with a groin injury.
The result leaves Wigan two points adrift of 17th-placed Aston Villa, with both sides having four games left to play - including a final day of the season meeting between them at the DW Stadium. Tottenham, meanwhile, stay fifth with four matches to go, level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea - who have a game in hand - and a point behind third-placed Arsenal.
Wigan’s reshuffled defence, missing the injured Antolin Alcaraz, was facing a Tottenham attack in which Jermain Defoe had been restored to play alongside Bale, and Spurs’ threat going forward was apparent from the off. Tom Huddlestone delivered an early free-kick on to the head of Bale, who flicked the ball wide, and sent another one swerving against the post shortly after.
With the momentum behind them, it came as little surprise that it was Tottenham who subsequently opened the scoring, although the goal came about in strange circumstances. A hesitant exchange of passes between Figueroa and Robles led to the latter cannoning an attempted clearance against the outstretched leg of the approaching Bale, and the ball rebounded straight into the net.
It was an embarrassing moment for Roberto Martinez’s men, but to their credit, they responded swiftly and within two minutes had equalised. Shaun Maloney swung a corner in from the right and Boyce was on hand to crash a header past Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham looked to regain the initiative, with Scott Parker sending the ball over after playing a one-two with Bale, but Wigan looked galvanised and went close when Arouna Kone’s ambitious, delicate side-foot shot from Jordi Gomez’s tee-up flew just too high.
Figueroa redeemed himself by making a great tackle to take the ball away from Defoe as the striker advanced towards goal, but the Honduran international appeared to injure his groin in doing so. He was soon carried off on a stretcher, no doubt wondering about his chances of featuring in next month’s FA Cup final against Manchester City, with Ronnie Stam taking his place. Tottenham then suffered their own injury blow as Mousa Dembele had to be replaced by Lewis Holtby shortly after.
Spurs finished the first half strongly and after Bale had missed a good-looking chance by heading over, Robles did well to palm the ball away from the feet of Defoe as the England man burst through the Wigan defence.
Having survived that scramble, the Latics emerged from the break looking bright and Lloris had to claw away a tricky ball from substitute Stam. Moments later Wigan fans were on their feet as the home side snatched the lead through McManaman’s first Premier League goal. The 22-year-old forward cracked in an unstoppable effort from outside the area having collected the ball from James McCarthy.
Good defensive work from James McArthur allowed Robles to claim the ball with Clint Dempsey lurking, and Kone then twice failed to covert; hooking one shot straight into Lloris’ arms after chesting the ball down and then seeing the Frenchman getting down to save another. Di Santo, who had come on for McManaman, then sent an attempt off-target, and Wigan were made to rue their inability to add a further goal.
Tottenham - with the fit-again Aaron Lennon introduced from the bench - applied late pressure and it paid off in the 90th minute, with a low ball into the box bobbling in off the unfortunate Boyce.
It might have been worse for Wigan had Robles not pulled off an impressive save to keep out Bale’s stoppage-time free-kick, the Spaniard then stopping a follow-up effort from Huddlestone before a shot from Defoe was blocked by a defender in the frantic final seconds.
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez: “It should have been three points. I thought the performance was magnificent from start to finish. Remember, we were playing against a side that are fighting to get into the Champions League spots, they've got tremendous quality and a wealth of talent in that squad.
"We gave them a goal, but even then we deservedly got in front and we feel hard done by the free-kick at the end. In terms of the performance, I couldn't be prouder. I thought tactically we showed incredible awareness and coped with anything that Spurs had to throw at us. To keep Spurs so quiet and the only threat was from dead-ball situations is full credit to the players.
"The initial reaction is that Figueroa should be out for the season. We need to see the extent of the problem, but he is on crutches at the moment. We will assess him. It is a groin strain. It was [a great tackle], but the groin got stretched and the rest of the body pulled apart.”
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas: "We did ever so well in the first half, 10 shots against their two. The problem is that when we came back on after half-time we thought we were in control and Wigan scored almost straight away and that really shook our confidence.
"It seemed to be against the run of play. But it is good to salvage a point, hopefully it can turn out to be an important point."
|04 May 2013||v West Brom (A)|
|07 May 2013||v Swansea (H)|
|14 May 2013||v Arsenal (A)|
|19 May 2013||v Aston Villa (H)|