Di Santo leveller lifts Latics
Published 29/01/2013 | 22:05
Wigan moved out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone after a second-half fightback saw them claim a vital point from a 2-2 draw at Stoke.
The Potters took the lead in the 23rd minute when Ryan Shawcross capitalised on a Latics defensive blunder to hook the ball in, and Peter Crouch made it 2-0 in the 48th, 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 sees Wigan move 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.
It looked in the early stages as if Potters boss Tony Pulis 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, and they broke the deadlock after 23 minutes.
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 Potters were back in the ascendancy at the start of the second half, doubling their lead within three minutes of the restart. Latics 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. And 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.