Howard mistake nearly costs Toffees a point but substitute Victor Anichebe rescues a point for David Moyes' men on a freezing cold day in Lancashire.
The game seemed to be drifting towards a bore 0-0 draw until the 75th minute when a Jean Beasuejour cross deflected off Phil Neville and spun past Howard and into the back of the net. It was a terrible mistake by the American who should have easily claimed the ball. However his blushes were spared by substitute Anichebe who rose to head home a Leighton Baines cross with his first touch of the match.
Both sides had some good possession and some neat buildup play but neither goalkeeper had much to do as chances were at a premium. One positive for the visiting fans was the performance of Steven Pienaar and the introduction of Nikica Jelavic but neither player was able to inspire the Toffees to victory.
The home side settled into the game the quickest and, as is the team's way, had some good possession in the opening quarter of the game. New signing Jean Beausejour impressed down the left wing but the lack of a presence in the penalty area meant the Latics were unable to take advantage. Pienaar began the game as though he had never left Everton, gliding past challenges and creating chances for Tim Cahill and Denis Stacqualursi, neither of which tested Ali Al Habsi.
Wigan's first sight of goal came in the 20th minute when Di Santo was found by a long ball from Maynor Figueroa. The defender played a ball over the top of Distin which hit a defender and dropped nicely for Di Santo only for his shot to be saved by Howard.
The second period took a long time to get going as both sides exchanged possession without ever getting into a dangerous position. The introduction of new signing Jelavic lifted the Everton fans and helped their team raise the tempo but chances continued to be few and far between.
The game was sparked into life in the 76th minute as Wigan was gifted the lead. The Latics spread the ball from right to left and Beausejour's cross hit the foot of Neville and seemed to be rolling into the keeper's hands. However, Howard failed to read the spin put on the ball by Neville's touch and it bounced past his hands and into the bottom corner.
The Wigan goal forced David Moyes into a substitution and it paid dividends immediately as Anichebe got his side level with a close range header. The striker rose to head in a Baines cross into the back of the net in the 83rd minute to give both teams a share of the points.