Anichebe spares Howard blushes
Toffees substitute ensures spoils were shared at DW Stadium
Last Updated: 04/02/12 5:58pm
Victor Anichebe scored with his first touch off the bench as Everton secured a 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic to spare Tim Howard's blushes.
Franco Di Santo had Wigan's best chance in the first half, but he was quickly closed down by Howard while Darron Gibson was unable to find the target from a Leighton Baines cut-back.
There was little action to report until the 76th minute when Howard made a meal of collecting Jean Beausejour's cross that deflected off substitute Phil Neville.
Falling behind prompted the visitors into action when Anichebe glanced home Baines' delivery after Gary Caldwell was unable to properly clear the left-back's initial corner.
Both teams tried in vain to secure the three points in the closing stages, but despite chances for either side the spoils were shared, leaving Wigan bottom of the table while Everton have dropped to 11th.
Steven Pienaar was making his first start in the Premier League this season but was quickly up to speed and causing trouble for the Latics, who were just about holding firm.
Scoring goals has been a major problem for Wigan and Franco Di Santo could not make the most of a golden chance in the 20th minute. A long ball from Maynor Figueroa caught out the Everton defence but the striker placed his shot too close to Howard.
It was a very scrappy game and Jordi Gomez could only curl a free-kick well over from 25 yards after Johnny Heitinga had hauled down Di Santo, while at the other end Wigan just about managed to scramble a Landon Donovan corner clear.
The Latics were failing to capitalise on good positions, with Victor Moses the latest culprit as his control let him down at the crucial moment as he lined up a shot.
Gibson was the Everton hero on Tuesday but he spurned a good chance five minutes before the break, sending his shot way over the bar after Baines had done well to get to the goalline and pull the ball back.
Everton made a change at half-time, Neville replacing Tim Cahill, but it did little to improve the quality, with both goalkeepers virtual spectators.
Gibson did manage a half-decent effort but it was easily saved by Al Habsi, and on the hour mark Moyes sent on Nikica Jelavic for Denis Stracqualursi. The Croatian was prolific at Rangers and his arrival was greeted with a huge roar from the vocal Everton fans.
Roberto Martinez had also seen enough and in the 65th minute the Wigan manager made a double change, Rodallega replacing Gomez and David Jones coming on for Ronnie Stam, while moments later Di Santo hobbled off and Albert Crusat entered the fray.
The hosts wanted a penalty when Jones' shot deflected behind off Pienaar's arm, but referee Anthony Taylor waved their claims away.
Wigan have been short on luck this season but they certainly got a huge slice of it in the 76th minute as Everton gifted them the softest of goals.
There seemed little danger when Neville got a foot to Beausejour's cross and the ball headed straight for Howard but the keeper let it bounce and the spin on the ball took it past him and into the net, to the disbelief of players and fans alike.
Anichebe came on for Tony Hibbert in the 81st minute in Moyes' final throw of the dice, and within two minutes he had levelled matters, leaping above the Wigan defence to guide in a header from Baines' cross after the hosts had not dealt well with a corner.
Wigan pushed for a winner and almost found it from a late corner but they could not force the ball in as it pinged around the Everton box.The point did at least end a run of five successive defeats for the Latics, who remain five points adrift of safety.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Statistics||Everton|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||5|
|56.1||1st Half Poss.||43.9|
|48.8||2nd Half Poss.||51.2|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Bromwich Albion||1||1|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||1||0|
|18||West Ham United||1||0|