Belfast Telegraph

Martinez spot on with Watson

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.

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' opener on the stroke of half-time. Substitue Cameron Jerome then put Stoke back in front before Watson sent 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."

He added: "Taking a penalty is something of a specialist (task) and we have got two specialists at the club; Jordi Gomez and Ben Watson. Jordi Gomez wasn't on the pitch at that time and it would have been very unfair, or a big gamble, to put another player in that position."

Watson had missed his previous two penalties, but made no mistake on this occasion.

"Only the players who take the penalties can miss," Martinez continued. "The important thing is you get a specialist in that situation.

"Ben Watson, for me, is technically one of the best players in English football and that's his forte; his concentration. The big thing is he showed that he was ready for the team. I had a real belief and confidence in him."

While the Wigan boss believed referee Michael Oliver had "got the two big calls right", Stoke assistant manager Dave Kemp was dismayed by the penalty decision that went against his team.

"I've only looked at it again briefly, I suppose you would argue there was some kind of tug that no one else managed to see," he said.

"It's not a penalty. For me, when penalties are given you expect them to be clear-cut. It was one of those phantom ones and we were on the wrong end of it."


From Belfast Telegraph