Bizarre Phil Neville own goal sparked a dull game into life and the visitors relied on a Victor Anichebe equaliser to rescue a draw, leaving the Latics five points from safetyWigan and Everton battled through tough weather conditions and a heavy pitch to get a share of the spoils on Saturday afternoon, a result that has both managers content.
Neither side really got going in the game and although much of the passing was neat and tidy, clearcut chances were few and far between.
In fact, it took a freak goal to get the game going as a Jean Beausejour cross deflected off the foot of substitute Phil Neville, and although originally looking easy for Tim Howard in the Everton net, the ball spun on the turf before rolling into the net, leaving the goalkeeper with his head in his hands.
“It was a complete fluke, a freak,” said Everton manager David Moyes.
Despite Moyes being obviously wound up by the nature of the goal, Wigan manager Roberto Martinez was, unsurprisingly, a little happier.
“It was a welcome surprise,” the Spaniard beamed.
“I think in the second half we had that little bit of luck that we haven’t had this season.
“I thought it was what we deserved after the dominance that we had and the attacking threat that we showed and the real intent to play our football in difficult conditions.”
Everton were rescued by another substitute, Victor Anichebe, in the 83rd minute as the striker rose above the Wigan defence to head home a Leighton Baines cross with his first touch of the match.
“It was a crucial goal,” admitted Moyes
“I didn’t think we deserved to be in that position, great credit to the lads for coming back.”
However, Martinez wasn’t impressed with his sides defending from Baines’ cross, believing the left-back should've been more effectively closed down following an Everton set-play.
He said: “It’s unfortunate that at the second phase of a dead ball situation the ball ends up in the back of the net.”
Everton gave a start to loan signing Steven Pienaar and brought on Nikica Jelavic in the second-half, and Moyes was happy with how both new arrivals performed for the Toffees.
“I thought Steven Pienaar was the best player today.
“Definitely the best Everton player, he’s come back and it looks like he hasn’t been away.
“[Jelavic] has done fine, he’s only just come in to it so it’s difficult to judge.
“He only came in on Friday so we’ll give him time to settle in and be part of it.”
Wigan also gave a home debut to their new signing Beausejour, and Martinez was very pleased with the impact the Chilean had on the game, stating he looked forward to seeing more from him in the future.
“Jean is settling in really well,” he added.
“He’s a specialist in the position that he plays and he’s been a real boost to the squad.
“I think it will take a little time to get the benefit of his quality, but there are certain situations where he can find a cross when you do not expect anything.
“It was pleasing to see such a natural debut.”
The draw leaves Wigan bottom of the table and five points from safety, but Martinez refused to give up in the battle to survive and felt that the positives from this game were something that could push the Latics up the table.
“There’s nothing different,” Martinez admitted.
“I thought the occasion affected us in the last two games, but today I saw a free team who were working hard for each other.
“That pleases me and gives me great confidence for the end of the season.
“We’ve been here before and it’s going to be extremely difficult, we are a strong unit and that’s the challenge we’ve got ahead.”