Wigan 2-2 Southampton: Maloney denies Pochettino his first Saints win
Second-half strikes from Rickie Lambert and Morgan Schneiderlin looked to have sealed all three points for Saints, only for the 30-year-old to hand his side a share of the spoils
By Tom Marshall-Bailey at the DW Stadium
Shaun Maloney's late strike denied Southampton a precious win against Wigan at the DW Stadium as two relegation battlers fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw.
The hosts had taken the lead when Gary Caldwell headed home from a corner, only for second-half strikes from Rickie Lambert and Morgan Schneiderlin looked to have sealed an important three points for Mauricio Pochettino’s side – but Maloney turned home from a corner to share the spoils.
Paul Scharner made his second debut for the club after arriving on loan on Thursday in one of two changes for Wigan. Southampton made one change to the side that lost at Manchester United in midweek as Luke Shaw replaced Danny Fox at left-back.
It was a scrappy beginning in truth, with stray passes aplenty. The first real opening of the contest fell to the home side, though, with Di Santo coming close to capping off a flowing move, but could only steer his effort straight at Artur Boruc.
Southampton then mustered up a chance of their own as Ramirez incredibly missed a gilt-edged opening, blazing over the bar on the volley when unmarked.
There was similar questionable marking from the away team, captain Caldwell rose unmarked to nod home from a Jean Beausejour corner as Wigan drew first blood.
The Latics’ hard work to find the opener was almost undone within a matter of seconds as James McCarthy's clearance rebounded off Schneiderlin and towards Ali Al-Habsi's goal, but the Oman stop-stopper recovered to tip wide.
The second half started much like the first - in a cagey manner - as Southampton plotted a way back into the game.
Pochettino threw on both Steven Davis and Adam Lallana early on as he sought to gain a foothold in the game, with Wigan being pushed deeper. And they were duly punished.
Jack Cork found himself in space and picked out a delightful cross which Jay Rodriguez flicked on for Lambert, who snuck in behind the defence to head home past a despairing Al-Habsi.
Southampton continued to up the ante, and Lallana struck the post after hesitancy in the Wigan backline, before Luke Shaw's dizzying run and cross teed up Lambert, but could only guide his volley wide.
The visitors had the momentum and took full advantage, and stole what looked to be a winner with just five minutes left when Rodriguez escaped down the left-hand side and found a lurking Schneiderlin to met the low cross and tap home beyond a statuesque Al-Habsi to send the Saints fans behind the goal into raptures.
However, Wigan were not ready to let a point slip and notched an injury-time equaliser when deadline-day signing Scharner nodded a corner on to the back post for Maloney to home home past the dive of Boruc.
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