Latics yet again couldn’t kill a team off after dominating this game for almost an hour, Paul Scharner headed home the first goal for Wigan Athletic whilst bad marking allowed a free header for Tuncay to equalise.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – DW STADIUM – Tuesday 9th February 2010

Paul Scharner (14)

Tuncay Sanli (74)

How Latics didn’t go in 3-0 leaders at half time beggars belief, after battering Stoke for so much of the first half Martinez must wonder what he has to do to get this teaming taking advantage of it and scoring some goals.

I think there was only Kirkland who didn’t have a sniff at goal in the opening 45, yet we only managed the solitary goal from Scharner who probably had one of the harder chances. Wigan set off like a bullet, spending the majority of the opening ten minutes camped out in the Stoke half.

Roberto Martinez will know Latics blew a golden opportunity to put some points between themselves and the drop-zone but they failed to put the Potters away, like in previous games.

The first half was as one-sided an encounter as you will see at Premier League level, as Latics passed and moved their way towards a deserved interval lead thanks to Paul Scharner’s bullet header.

The only downside was that the advantage wasn’t more emphatic.
After the break, it was as one-sided a 45 minutes as the first half – only this time in the other direction – as Latics allowed nerves to get the better of them, stopped doing the things that got them the lead, and in the end were hanging on for the final whistle.

After levelling through Tuncay, Stoke almost won it when Mamady Sidibe headed against the crossbar, with Latics struggling to put together two passes in response.

And it took a blinding save with seconds remaining from Chris Kirkland to deny substitute James Beattie a last-gasp winner for the visitors.
Martinez had made one change to the starting line-up for the clash, with Hendry Thomas giving way to Jason Scotland.

The reshuffle meant Hugo Rodallega switching to the left-hand side and James McCarthy tucking into central midfield, with Thomas named on a strong-looking bench alongside new-boys Marcelo Moreno and Victor Moses, and skipper Mario Melchiot.

Latics began strongly and Rodallega was soon in the thick of things, robbing Andy Wilkinson and advancing towards the area.

He over-ran the ball and was somewhat fortunate to be tripped by Ryan Shawcross, who was cautioned, although the free-kick failed to get past the wall.

Charles N’Zogbia then led a break that saw McCarthy feed Scotland, whose shot was deflected wide for a corner.

Matthew Etherington was then yellow-carded for blocking off N’Zogbia with 15 minutes gone – and the Frenchman exacted the perfect revenge when his right-wing free-kick was headed home superbly by Scharner.

The Austrian was then called into action at the other end, heading clear this time after a deep Dean Whitehead cross.

Latics were enjoying a super opening half-hour, with plenty of possession to go with their territorial advantage and N’Zogbia seeing a great deal of the ball.

Lovely interplay between Maynor Figueroa, McCarthy, Mohamed Diame and Scotland led to Rodallega smashing a shot against the legs of Robert Huth.

And Diame was the next to try his luck, evading a couple of opponents before he too saw a shot blocked by a Stoke defender.

Stoke were given a rare sight of goal 10 minutes before the break when Tuncay dived theatrically on the edge of the area only for Andre Marriner to award the free-kick and book disbelieving Latics man Gary

Huth stepped up to drill the set-piece goalwards, only for the wall to do its job.
And Titus Bramble then lashed the ball away to safety for the hosts.
Tuncay went to ground seconds later after another collision with Caldwell, only this time the referee motioned for him to get up and waved play on.

The Turk was in the action for the right reasons five minutes before the break, starting and finishing a move involving Etherington that caused Kirkland to make his only meaningful save of the period.
Stoke were then lucky to escape conceding a second when a corner from N’Zogbia was headed inches wide from Scharner.

There was still time before the interval for Huth to pick up his side’s third yellow of the half for a blatant body-check on Rodallega.

The Potters were given hope at the start of the second period when Huth reached Etherington’s free-kick first and nodded back towards Tuncay, only for Caldwell to clear with impeccable timing.

And the visitors were further boosted 10 minutes in when McCarthy limped off to be replaced by Thomas, with Jordi Gomez also coming on for Scotland.

Stoke themselves made a change when they threw on Ricardo Fuller for Rory Delap, and Tuncay had a shot deflected over as they pressed.

But Latics almost made it two midway through the half when Caldwell’s long ball found Rodallega, who controlled on his chest and unleashed a
speculative overhead kick that looped over Sorensen but clipped the top of the crossbar.

Kirkland had largely been a spectator, but was there when required with 20 minutes on the clock when he saved a Fuller shot with his feet.
But the Wigan goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Tuncay’s free header from eight yards finding the back of the net with 17 minutes left.

The Potters were a lick of paint from taking the lead a minute later when another fine cross from Etherington was flicked back by Fuller and then nodded against the bar by Sidibe.

Marcelo Moreno replaced Diame in the closing stages but, similar to Saturday at Sunderland, had little time to make an impression.

And, but for Kirkland’s late intervention from Beattie’s blast, it would have been more late heartache for a Wigan side who desperately need to rediscover that winning feeling.

Cockney Latic Man of the Match: Paul Scharner
Referee: Andre Mariner
Attendance: 16,033
1 Chris Kirkland 1 Thomas Sorensen
17 Emmerson Boyce 3 Danny Higginbotham
5 Gary Caldwell 4 Robert Huth
19 Titus Bramble 17 Ryan Shawcross
31 Maynor Figueroa 28 Andy Wilkinson
27 Mohamed Diame 24 Rory Delap
14 Charles N’Zogbia 6 Glenn Whelan
7 Paul Scharner 26

Matthew Etherington

24 James McCarthy 18 Dean Whitehead
9 Jason Scotland 11 Mamady Sidibe
20 Hugo Rodallega 20 Tuncay Sanli
29 Vladimir Stojkovic 13 Asmir Begovic
25 Mario Melchiot 22 Danny Collins
6 Hendry Thomas 14 Danny Pugh
15 Jordi Gomez 15 Salif Diao
11 Victor Moses 7 Liam Lawrence
18 Marcelo Moreno 9 James Beattie
16 Scott Sinclair 10 Ricardo Fuller
7′     Yellow Card Ryan Shawcross
14′ Goal Paul Scharner    
14′     Yellow Card Matthew Etherington
34′ Yellow Card Gary Caldwell    
54′ Player Off James McCarthy
Player On Hendry Thomas
60′     Player Off Rory Delap
Player On Ricardo Fuller
60′ Player Off Jason Scotland
Player On Jordi Gomez
69′ Yellow Card Hugo Rodallega    
74′     Goal Tuncay Sanli
81′ Player Off Mohamed Diame
Player On Marcelo Moreno
88′     Player Off Tuncay Sanli
Player On Liam Lawrence
88′     Player Off Mamady Sidibe
Player On James Beattie
89′     Yellow Card Robert Huth