Former Latic comes back to haunt old club with an equaliser after James McArthur's third goal of the season had put the hosts in front
The Latics dominated large parts of the game but were frustrated by a lack of cutting edge and the heroics of Ben Foster in the Albion goal. However there was nothing he could do about James McArthur’s opening goal as a Victor Moses cross struck Billy Jones and allowed the Scottish midfielder to poke it over the line. Scharner came back to haunt his old side nine minutes later as he headed a Chris Brunt corner past Ali Al Habsi.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez made two changes from the side that came so close to taking all three points at Norwich last weekend. Hugo Rodallega missed out through injury and Jordi Gomez dropped to the bench as Shaun Maloney was given his first league start for the club and Franco Di Santo earned himself a recall.
Roy Hodgson made five changes to the side that lost to Manchester United with Jones, Nicky Shorey, Paul Scharner, Jerome Thomas and Shane Long all returning. Marc-Antoine Fortune, Peter Odemwingie, Keith Andrews, Gabriel Tamas and the suspended Jonas Olsson were the players to make way for the Baggies.
The home side began much the brighter and within the first five minutes Di Santo had two excellent chances to open the scoring. The first came after a superb cross from Jean Beausejour on the left and the second following a mazy dribble from Shaun Maloney, but on both occasions the striker fired over Ben Foster’s crossbar without testing the keeper.
Wigan were looking dangerous going forward and from another dangerous left wing cross, this from Maynor Figueroa, Emmerson Boyce got in front of Nicky Shorey at the back post only to see his header flick the top of the crossbar.
Chances were few and far between for the visitors but they slowly worked their way back into the game and created two openings that they were unable to test Ali Al Habsi with. The first fell to Thomas, he wriggled himself into a shooting chance but dragged his shot wide of the far post. The second came from a set piece delivered by captain Chris Brunt. The unmarked Gareth McAuley met the cross but headed wide from 10 yards.
With the half coming to a close Wigan had the best chance of the match and forced the first save from Ben Foster. A right-wing corner was only cleared to the edge of the area by the visitors, James McCarthy beat Paul Scharner to the loose ball and fired a powerful shot towards the top corner only for Foster to palm it onto the crossbar and then clear the dropping ball for a corner.
In the final minutes of the half the home side should have opened the scoring but that decisive touch eluded them. A right-wing cross from Boyce found its way to Beausejour, he lifted it back in to Di Santo who headed it down to Maloney but it was behind the Scot and he couldn’t convert from six yards out.
The second half began the same way as the first with the hosts on top and five minutes in they tested Foster with a long range effort from Maloney. The Scot received the ball 30 yards from goal and with no challenge coming he strode towards goal but his shot from 25 yards was straight at the Baggies keeper.
However minutes later the home side did beat Foster with only their 12th goal at home so far this season. Moses was the creator as he burst past Shorey to get to the byline before pulling a cross into the penalty area. The ball struck Jones and bounced up allowing McArthur to poke the ball over the line for his third goal of the season.
Wigan’s lead did not last long and it was an all too familiar tale as Antolin Alcaraz switched off at a Brunt corner allowing Scharner to level the scores against his former club. The corner was played deep to the back post and was met by Scharner who drifted in front of an Alcaraz ball and headed home unchallenged.
Albion’s tails were up and in the final 10 minutes they nearly took the lead through substitute Keith Andrews. A counterattack from the visitors through Morrison saw the ball rolled into the path of Andrews but he fired just wide of Al Habsi’s left hand post from 20 yards.
Another substitute, Mohamed Diame, should have won it for Wigan in the last minute but he fired his shot straight at a team-mate from 10 yards following a Beausejour cut-back to ensure the points were shared.