Wigan grab vital draw
STOKE CITY 2 WIGAN 2
Published 01/01/2012 | 05:00
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez was in no doubt he had made the correct decision in introducing Ben Watson after the midfielder converted an 87th-minute penalty with his first touch to rescue a valuable point against Stoke.
The Latics -- who remain in the Premier League relegation zone -- looked set to leave the Britannia Stadium empty-handed after a tight contest had swung dramatically in the hosts' favour late on.
Ireland striker Jonathan Walters scored from the spot with 13 minutes remaining, after Wigan captain Gary Caldwell had been sent off for handball, to cancel out Victor Moses's opener on the stroke of half-time.
Substitute Cameron Jerome -- whose goalbound header had led to Caldwell's dismissal -- then put Stoke in front with his first league goal for the club, but Wigan hit back with a penalty of their own, Watson coming off the bench to send Thomas Sorensen the wrong way after Ryan Shotton had been penalised for a tug on Hugo Rodallega's shirt.
Asked whether he had taken a gamble by bringing on Watson to take such a crucial spot-kick, Martinez replied: "In football, it's not (a case of) being brave, it's trying to do the right things.
"Taking a penalty is something of a specialist (task) and we have got two specialists at the club -- Jordi Gomez and Ben Watson."
Watson had missed his previous two penalties, but he made no mistake on this occasion.
Stoke assistant manager Dave Kemp conceded that the home team -- who end 2011 eighth in the table -- were not at their best.
"If we had have won the game 2-1 without the penalty, we would all be sitting here quite happy with it, but obviously that's changed now and we are disappointed not to get the three points."
Sunday Indo Sport