Everton denies Wigan late

2012-02-04 19:20

Wigan - Victor Anichebe's late equaliser earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Wigan that struck a major blow to the hosts' survival hopes.

Wigan took a shock lead through Phil Neville's own goal with a quarter of an hour remaining.

But Anichebe's header earned Everton a point that means that Wigan have managed just one home win in the Premier League this season.

Everton manager David Moyes started with Steven Pienaar, who returned for a second spell at Goodison Park on loan from Tottenham and the South African winger made a strong start.

He made one long break from his own half and also provided a neat through ball for striker Denis Stracqualursi, who had strayed offside.

Struggling Wigan had their first chance when Emmerson Boyce failed to make decent contact on a header from Jean Beausejour's corner.

Pienaar continued to cause problems and after cutting in from the left flank, he fed Australian midfielder Tim Cahill, who lifted a shot over from the edge of the area.

Having struggled all season, Everton's midfield immediately looked more flexible thanks to the influence of Pienaar and Landon Donovan.

And they opened the hosts up once again when Donovan rolled away from Maynor Figueroa and provided a return pass for Stracqualursi, who could only prod straight at Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Figueroa created another opportunity when his long ball forward picked out Argentinian striker Franco Di Santo, who stabbed weakly at Tim Howard after shrugging off Sylvain Distin.

Jordi Gomez also drove a free kick over the bar but Everton continued to create the better opportunities.

A Leighton Baines free kick was flicked on by Marouane Fellaini but John Heitinga shot straight at Al Habsi.

A strong run down the left by Baines, who started his career with Wigan, saw the left-back cross for Darron Gibson, only for the former Manchester United mifielder to lift over the bar from a good position.

Everton were forced into a change at the interval when Cahill had to be replaced by skipper Neville.

Gibson went some way to making up for his poor first-half finishing when he surged forward to force a low save from Al Habsi.

But Moyes felt his team needed more sharpening up and brought on Nikica Jelavic, who joined from Rangers in a 5.5 million deal last week, just before the hour.

Fellaini went close once again when he pulled down a long ball from Distin and saw his drilled shot saved by Al Habsi.

Wigan were struggling to create any penetration and made a desperate appeal for a penalty when James McCarthy's shot struck Heitinga's hand from close range.

But they took a surprise lead when Beausejour's cross span off Neville and took a strange bounce past the helpless goalkeeper Howard.

Everton responded quickly and pulled level just eight minutes later.

Gary Caldwell headed Baines' corner straight back to the full-back and when he whipped the ball back into the area, Anichebe peeled away to the near post and glanced a header past Al Habsi.

Jelavic's only real chance came when he got on the end of Donovan's corner but saw his effort blocked by Caldwell.