Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Spurs strike back to rescue Wigan point

Emmerson Boyce, third left, scored Wigan's first-half equaliser before netting an own goal
Emmerson Boyce, third left, scored Wigan's first-half equaliser before netting an own goal

Emmerson Boyce's late own-goal saw relegation-threatened Wigan denied a precious victory as they recorded a 2-2 draw against Champions League-chasing Tottenham 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, in the end their efforts were not quite enough for 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 piledriver then put them 2-1 up four minutes after the break, but Boyce was unlucky to find the net again with an own-goal in the closing stages.

The result leaves Wigan two points adrift of 17th-placed Aston Villa, with both sides having four games left to play - including a meeting between them at the DW Stadium on the final day of the season. Tottenham, meanwhile, stay fifth, level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea - who they have a game in hand over - and a point behind Arsenal.

It was no surprise when Tottenham opened the scoring after early pressure, although the goal came about in bizarre circumstances with Wigan only really having themselves to blame. A horribly 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 a truly 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.

Spurs finished the first half strongly and after Bale had passed up 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, which subsequently managed to clear up.

Wigan fans were on their feet four minutes after the interval as the home side snatched the lead through what was McManaman's first Premier League goal - and a fine one at that. The 22-year-old forward cracked in an unstoppable effort from outside the area having collected the ball from James McCarthy.

Kone twice failed to covert when he might have done better, hooking one shot straight into Lloris' arms after chesting the ball down and then seeing the Frenchman getting down to save another. Wigan were made to rue their inability to add a further goal.

Tottenham applied late pressure and it paid off in the 90th minute, with a low ball into the box bobbling in off the unfortunate Boyce. And it might have been worse for Wigan had Robles not pulled off a save to keep out Bale's stoppage-time free-kick, the Spaniard then stopping a follow-up effort from Tom Huddlestone.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre