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Premier League

  • February 1, 2011
  • • 20:00
  • • The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 25358
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West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Wigan Athletic: Fortune Strike Denies Latics Vital Win As Martinez’s Side Stay In Relegation Zone

West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Wigan Athletic: Fortune Strike Denies Latics Vital Win As Martinez’s Side Stay In Relegation Zone

Entertaining encounter ends all square...

A 78th minute goal from Marc-Antoine Fortune saved a point for Roberto Di Matteo’s West Brom in an enthralling encounter that leaves Wigan still in the relegation zone after a 2-2 draw.

The draw means that Wigan remain in 18th place in the Premier League, whereas West Brom lie 16th, three points clear of the drop zone.

In a dual between the Premier League’s two youngest managers, it was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides, with Wigan knocking the ball around confidently and looking to attack from the off.

However, their good early work went to waste in the fourth minute as sloppy play by James McCarthy outside the West Brom box gifted possession back to the Baggies, who hit Wigan on the counter as Jerome Thomas slid a perfectly weighted pass through to Peter Odemwingie, who poked it past the on-rushing Al-Habsi.

After their goal, West Brom were now looking like the side in the ascendency as they played expansive, free-flowing football, and looking highly dangerous whenever they went forward, however that was about to change.

Charles N’Zogbia was without question the best player in the first half and the most likely to end the home dominance of the early stages.

He cut inside from his right flank and shaped to shoot before being taken down. The Frenchman stood up to take the resulting free-kick and put it into the bottom far corner, with a little help from Mulumbu in the West Brom wall.

The goal signalled a change with Wigan now doing the pressing and N’Zogbia being the main source of problems as he started to pop-up all over the pitch, as demonstrated by a fantastic run down the left wing, taking on three defenders and after a ricochet, unleashing a volley that Myhill did well put out for a corner.

West Brom thought they had a penalty shout late in the half as Diame came through Thomas to get the ball, however the referee ushered play to continue.

Wigan eventually took the lead in the 42nd minute as Ben Watson’s brilliantly struck free-kick from the left wing found its way through everyone and into the goal by the far post. The defending was poor, but Myhill was stranded and the goal was almost inevitable.

The second half started better for the home team as Carlos Vela and Marek Cech combined before the latter shot just over the bar. However, Wigan went straight down the other end and went close through Franco Di Santo, although Myhill was equal to his attempt.

West Brom continued to press with Vela was looking a little more interested, as was Thomas, who after a one-two with Chris Brunt went close with a curling effort, and then minutes later cutting inside and taking on his marker, shot straight at the 'keeper.

Wigan started to take a bit of initiative after West Brom looked like they were running out of ideas as N’Zogbia cut inside from the right onto his left foot, whilst getting away from Cech in the process and beating Olsson and Mulumbu before shooting, only for the 'keeper to save.

Wigan again went close moments later in the 63rd minute as Hugo Rodallega exchanged passes with N’Zogbia down the left before unleashing a thunderous drive just over from the edge of the box. The Colombian should have done hit the target as he had little in front of him.

After a period of transition including substitutions and an injury to Maynor Figueroa, West Brom had two excellent chances, firstly through substitute Fortune, who got a slight sight of goal and shot from the edge of the area, hitting the post.

An equaliser almost arrived in the second great chance in as many minutes as a result of brilliant play by Odemwingie as he took the ball past several opponents before passing to Brunt just outside the area. He unleashed a good shot with his left foot and it cannoned back off the right-hand post.

The home side’s pressure finally paid in the 78th minute after a corner fell to Thomas just inside the area. The winger floated the ball back into the centre where Fortune was on hand to head past Al-Habsi.

The Baggies carried on pressing for the win with Olsson producing a fantastic save from Wigan’s Al-Habsi after Brunt’s corner was met by the centre back’s powerful header.

A few minutes of drama right at the death saw West Brom have a shot by Fortune cleared off the line, whilst they also had two penalty shouts turned down as the Baggie claimed handball on both occasions, but could not complete the fightback and find a winning goal.

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