Spot kicks at both ends made the difference in the end and a dominant Lactics side soon succumbed to the Potters tenacious attitude
A rather sloppy first-half was highlighted only by Wigan’s opener before the break, with Hugo Rodallega’s pounding run down the right flank leading to his low cross to find Victor Moses at the front post to toe-poke the ball past Thomas Sorenson.
A frantic second brought about plenty of action as two penalties at either end saw Stoke take the lead and lose it just as quickly. Jonathan Walters put the Potters on even terms before Cameron Jerome can on to put them ahead. However, a cameo appearance from Ben Watson saw the points shared.
The first 10 minutes of the game was all about the battle for possession, but it was Wigan that found the most success with its share of the ball as both Jordi Gomez and Rodallega forced saves out of Sorenson.
Huth tried to offer Stoke some encouragement with a header that glided just inches wide of Ali Al-Habsi’s goal. While Jermaine Pennant looked as energetic as ever down the right wing, popping in cross and causing mayhem, Wigan was keeping a stern defense and the Potters struggled to capitalize on the attacker’s driving crosses into the Lactics’ box.
Rodallega again was happy to terrorize the Potters’ goal, with the striker pacing through the offside trap and got his foot to a loose ball before a stuttering Sorenson to lob the ‘keeper, but the Columbian was denied by a well-placed Ryan Shawcross who anticipated the chip.
Good running down the right flank from Rodallega saw the striker set up Wigan’s opener. The attacker’s run led to a driving pass into the area for a waiting Moses at the front post to poke the ball past Sorenson. The goal saw the Lactics head into the break with the advantage and summed up the half, with Stoke failing to make any chances and had allowed its opponents far too many.
As the game got back underway and a misty rain descended on the Britannia Stadium, the teams continued the scrappy affair and neither side could hold onto the ball for long.
Stoke though saw enough of the ball to get their best chance of the game so far, as Rory Delap launched the ball into the Wigan box from the touchline for Huth to get his head to, with the defender agonisingly nodding the ball onto the post and up into the hands of Al Habsi.
Stoke eventually took the initiative as Jerome arrived on the scene. A long throw into the area by Delap saw the striker’s following header handled on the line by Caldwell. Walters took the resulting penalty and brought the Potters back in the game.
A break for the Potters just moments later saw the ball headed in the path of former Birmingham man Jerome, who slotted home the ball past Al Habsi and into the far corner.
However, at the other end, Wigan was handed the second penalty of the afternoon and substitute Watson powered the ball past Sorenson to bring the score back to equal terms in a flurry of action.
The game hung in the balance till the end with Stoke pushing for a winner while Wigan was happy to waste time and hold on to the ball for as long as possible.