Saturday 24 February 2018

Di Santo seals fightback to lift Latics out of drop zone

Stoke 2
Wigan 2

Phil Medlicott

Wigan moved out of the Premier League relegation zone after a second-half fightback saw them claim a vital point 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.

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.

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 Shawcross, who finished from close range.

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 to slot in.

Wigan's reply was immediate, with Espinoza sliding in a through-ball which McArthur clipped home.

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.

Irish Independent

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