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Wigan boss Roberto Martinez hails composure of Ben Watson after penalty earned draw against Stoke

The 26-year-old was introduced specifically to take the spot-kick, as the Lactics secured a point at the Britannia after Victor Moses had given them the lead against the Potters

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has hailed the composure of Ben Watson after the midfielder came off the bench to score a penalty with his first touch and secure a 2-2 away draw against Stoke.

Victor Moses opened the scoring just before the break, before an equalising spot-kick from Jonathan Walters brought the game level again. The home side took the lead through Cameron Jerome before the 26-year-old earned his side a point, after being specifically introduced by Martinez to take the penalty.

Asked on the choice he made, Martinez told reporters: “In football it’s not being brave, it’s trying to do the right thing. Taking a penalty is something of a specialist [area] and we have two specialists, Jordi Gomez and Ben Watson.

“Jordi 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. Ben Watson for me is one of the best technical players in English football and that’s his forte, the big thing for me is that he showed he was ready to step up for team.

“He’s missed the past two penalties, but if you’ve got a job to do then I will pick my specialist, if I could have brought Jordi Gomez back on then I would have done. In the end that kick meant the point.”

Stoke’s own penalty saw Gary Caldwell get sent off for Wigan after handling the ball on the line to keep out Jerome’s header, and the Spaniard admitted the referee had made the right decision.

He added: “Both [penalty decisions] are correct.

“If you want to be a referee then don’t come to the Britannia Stadium, but he was consistent with his decisions, if you look at the laws it’s a red card and it’s a penalty and if you pull a striker’s shirt in the box it’s a penalty.”

On his side’s display, he said: “Looking at the whole performance I’m disappointed with getting just one point, but today we had to get that point through all the things that aren’t on football terms which are that character, that personality, that desire, that belief between the group and that pleases me more than anything.

“We limited Stoke to only three attempts on target, only one of those is the goal and the other two are the actions in the penalty.

“On top of that I feel that we were a real threat on the counter, the goal from Victor Moses from open play which is that hardest thing in football was delightful. We had to show great intensity defensively in the throw-ins.”

Stoke’s assistant manager Dave Kemp had contrasting thoughts on the Wigan’s penalty decision and felt that the Potters were hard done by in being forced to share the spoils.

He told reporters: “You could argue that there was a tug that nobody else managed to see. 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’re on the wrong end of it.”

When quizzed on Martinez’s substitution for their penalty, he added: “It’s like American Football now, you bring on a specialist kicker. But, he scored it so congratulations to the manager for making that decision.”

Kemp also praised the impact of Stoke’s own substitute in Jerome, whose header lead to their penalty and briefly put the home side in the lead.

He said: “Yes, he scored the goal, unfortunately he had a similar opportunity when he had a heavy touch that took it away from him and maybe could have scored another one. But he made the impact we wanted him to, he got around, caused some problems and obviously the goal was a bonus.”

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