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The past two of these fixtures between Everton and Wigan at the DW stadium have ended in draws, was that stat about to change?
After being at the past two of these fixtures at the DW stadium, I have come to the conclusion that Everton haven't always performed to their best ability. However, today we showed a great belief that we could go on in the later stages to get a point and if not grab a win. In past years we haven't shown that desire and have simply 'rolled over'.
- The game started as it was to continue the referee, Kevin Friend (wasn't many people's friend after today's game!), blew for a foul just one minute into the game. Soon after that the home side began to hit their stride, Everton, started to soak up the pressure, with Wigan's Arouna Kone particularly impressive.
- However, 10 minutes in the home team made the pressure tell and Johnny Heitinga pay for poor defending, although on the replay Kone did appear to be at least a yard offside. A sign of things to come
- Everton then found their feet, Leon Osman gathering the ball central of the field and then shifted the ball wide to Pienaar who had a powerful cross turned in by - who else - but Nikica Jelevic, who was waiting to head home at Wigan's back post
The game was then dominated by a midfield battle which at times seemed to be favouring the home side. Everton's defence was looking rocky to say the least in the first half. This was to be proven when a run, again by the much utilised Kone, down the right hand side of Everton's defence was not matched bu Heitinga. The ball was then played square into the box, beating two Everton defenders before reaching Franco Di Santo, who finished well into the top right corner of the blues goal
- Referee, Kevin Friend continued to allow the home crowd to influence his decision as he award a further four fouls in Wigan's favour in the 23 minutes that remained before half time. Fellaini picked up a booking for 'unfairly challenging for the ball'. This was deemed to be worse in the eyes of Latics boss Roberto Martinez, who felt Fellaini deliberately elbowed his challenging man Figueroa.
Half Time - Everton go in deserving of the score that was on the board, a lack of forceful defending and composure when on the ball was the result of our poor first half. At Half Time Johnny Heitinga was replaced by Sylvain Distin.
- The start of the half was sloppy for 10 minutes or so, this was not helped by a ever frustrating Kevin Friend. Fouls committed in the first 10 minutes of the half numbered four to Wigan and two to Everton. This continued throughout the half.
- Wigan contained Everton's attack, with Al-Habsi in fine form, frustrating the Blues manager David Moyes.
-Everton continued to be hindered by the referee who was insistent on showing cards as Everton received three further yellow cards going to Baines, Jelevic and Neville without any in the other direction. This was almost certainly annoying David Moyes but also the 4,500 travelling Everton fans.
- Everton's pressure eventually paid off as Victor Anichebe, who replaced captain Phil Neville five minutes earlier, played Kevin Mirallas into the Wigan penalty area, where he was brought down by a hefty challenge from Figueroa. Leighton Baines grabbed the ball and with time ticking away stepped-up and smashed the ball confidently into the top corner of Al-Habsi's net.
Wigan's continuous time wasting and slowing of the play resulted in five added minutes to the end of the second half. The final minutes were tense as fouls continued to be awarded in the home sides favour and as a result of a fairly innocuous challenge from Victor Anichebe who received a yellow card
Howard: 7 Coleman: 7 Jagielka: 8 Heitinga: 5 Baines: 9 Mirallas: 8 Osman: 7 Fellaini: 7 Pienaar: 9 Neville: 6 Jelevic: 8
Subs: Anichebe: 6 Naismith: 5 Distin: 8.
Man of the match: Leighton Baines.