Emile Heskey’s 4th goal of the season, his second inside a week, earned Wigan Athletic a very valuable point at the DW Stadium as Steve Bruce’s side continue their battle against the drop.


Heskey 12


Berbatov 6

The game burst into life after six minutes when Dimitar Berbatov volleyed home Aaron Lennon’s cross after the ball had flicked off the head of Paul Scharner.

However, Wigan’s response was clinical as Emile Heskey grabbed his second goal in as many games. Kevin Kilbane fed the ball into the Latics’ front man, and he neatly turned Didier Zokora and fired past Radek Cerny to bring the scores level.

Both sides had chances to win it, Chris Kirkland continued his impressive season by superbly denying Lennon, and at the other end Marcus Bent rattled the crossbar and Cerny produced a superb double save to deny Antonio Valencia and Heskey.

After just 10 seconds captain Robbie Keane found himself in space inside the area, but his eventual shot was weak, allowing Kirkland to make a relatively comfortable save.

Yet that chance set the tone, and with Lennon marauding down the right wing, it was Wigan’s defence whose minds were seemingly elsewhere.

Just five minutes later the electric Lennon had powered his way towards the line before crossing into the six-yard area where Berbatov sidefooted home with ease.

It was his 23rd goal of the season, ending Wigan’s proud home record of five successive clean sheets stretching over eight hours back to mid-January.

The Latics’ back four was still sleeping 80 seconds later when Lennon waltzed his way past a number of lame challenges to the edge of the area.

A short lay-off to his left found an unmarked Steed Malbranque, but Kirkland continued with the heroics that had proved so crucial to Wigan claiming a superb point at Chelsea on Monday.

The confidence gained from that result ensured no heads dipped in the Wigan ranks as they were back on level terms seven minutes later.

Following a mis-control from Keane, Wigan broke with devastating effect with a move that involved Scharner, Marcus Bent and Kilbane.

From Kilbane’s cross, Heskey turned on the ball and drilled a 15-yard shot beyond Cerny, just inside his left-hand post.

Heskey was being man-marked by Zokora, who was playing at centre-back in the absence of Jonathan Woodgate after the latter’s late withdrawal with a slight ankle injury.

It is hard to imagine Woodgate would have been so easily duped by Heskey, but Tottenham’s loss was undoubtedly Wigan’s gain.

Bent and Palacios had chances for Wigan, similarly with regard to Alan Hutton and Michael Dawson for Spurs, who perhaps should have headed into the break with the lead.

Referee Lee Probert, though, dismissed what appeared to be a clear penalty when Wigan captain Mario Melchiot hauled down Berbatov, to the anger of the Bulgarian.

Fortunately, the open nature of the game was not restricted to the first half as the second was as equally entertaining.

Bent had the best chance after Kilbane, Michael Brown and Palacios had all combined in the build-up, with the latter splitting Spurs’ defence with a precision ball on the hour.

With only Cerny to beat, Bent opted for power over finesse and crashed his shot against the crossbar, with the rebound just eluding Heskey.

Before that, Spurs arguably played the better football, only for Kirkland to thwart Lennon at point-blank range, while Keane failed to capitalise on a Scharner slip.

After the miss from Bent, Jermaine Jenas blazed over after being afforded a clear sight of Kirkland’s goal by Keane.

Although the entertainment value remained high, inevitably the chances dried up, despite Wigan being the more pressing side as they searched for a winner.

It came at a cost, though, as both Heskey and Bent limped off late on with injuries that will prove a major concern for Bruce at such a critical stage of the campaign.

Match report from www.skysports.com

Referee: Lee Probert (Gloucestershire)
Attendance: 18,673
1 Chris Kirkland 12 Radek Cerny
25 Mario Melchiot 28 Alan Hutton
17 Emmerson Boyce 20 Michael Dawson
18 Paul Scharner 4 Didier Zokora
2 Ryan Taylor 24 Jamie O’Hara
8 Kevin Kilbane 25 Aaron Lennon
16 Antonio Valencia 22 Tom Huddlestone
5 Wilson Palacios 8 Jermaine Jenas
11 Michael Brown 15 Steed Malbranque
23 Marcus Bent 10 Robbie Keane
9 Emile Heskey 9 Dimitar Berbatov
12 Mike Pollitt 31 Tommy Forecast
24 Josip Skoko 11 Gilberto
10 Jason Koumas 6 Teemu Tainio
6 Antoine Sibierski 33 Ricardo Rocha
14 Marlon King 23 Darren Bent
90′     Goal Maynor Figueroa
12′ Goal Emile Heskey    
70′ Yellow Card Antonio Valencia    
72′     Player Off Robbie Keane
Player On Darren Bent
76′ Player Off Emile Heskey
Player On Antoine Sibierski
81′ Yellow Card Wilson Palacios    
81′ Player Off Ryan Taylor
Player On Jason Koumas
84′ Player Off Marcus Bent
Player On Marlon King
85′     Goal Jamie O’Hara