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The DW Stadium | 30th January 2010 15:00

Wigan v Everton

Tim Cahill was the hero for Everton as David Moyes' Blues secured their third consecutive league victory.

The Aussie international headed home powerfully from a Leighton Baines corner with just six minutes remaining of a match which had - prior to that point - proved hugely frustrating for the Toffees.

The match officials had contrived to turn down two strong penalty claims and rule out a Marouane Fellaini goal which seemed perfectly legitimate.

They could have proved costly instances for Moyes' men. But Cahill ensured it was merely academic as the Blues continue to pressure the teams above them as the battle for European qualification gets back on track.

However, it was an edgy encounter - and a number of notable misses by Wigan should not be overlooked. Ultimately, though, Everton's spirit and superior quality shone through on an afternoon when Philippe Senderos was handed his debut for the Blues. He was the only change from the team that had defeated Sunderland days earlier.

And, having waltzed to three points in that match, the early indications were Everton would do likewise here.

Leon Osman tip-toed through inside two minutes. His shot didn't trouble Vladimir Stojkovic - but the ease with which the visitors opened up the home defence suggested it would be a profitable afternoon for the Blues' forwards.

But in the 20 minutes that followed the true task became more apparent.

There were half chances for Cahill and Wigan keeper Vladimir Stojkovic, who spent a brief trial at Everton last year, produced an acrobatic tip-over to deny Louis Saha. But there was little else for the away side.

Tim Cahill battles with Hendry ThomasTim Cahill battles with Hendry Thomas

Then came the first penalty claim. Saha was denied by referee Lee Probert - who waved away strong claims for a penalty on the half-hour when Gary Caldwell seemed to trip the forward.

Stojkovic had earlier been beaten on 23 minutes by a deflected shot from Saha which struck the post. But the linesman's flag meant it wouldn't have counted - with the deflection provided by Cahill in an offside position.

Stojkovic's opposite number was also tested during that opening quarter - Tim Howard doing well to parry a Hugo Rodallega effort from the edge of the box on 19 minutes.

Jason Scotland then fired over in a one-on-one on 26 minutes as his search for a Premier League goal continued.

It was a miss which charged the home crowd though - and seconds later Rodallega was inches from connecting with a cross two yards out at the back post.

Stojkovic had to be sharp to parry away a Leighton Baines free-kick within minutes of the second period getting underway.

The home crowd were ravenous for a penalty on 50 minutes but replays confirmed the referee was right to only give a free-kick on the edge of the area for Heitinga's foul on Charles N'Zogbia.

A second Everton claim for a penalty - again for a collision involving Caldwell - was turned away midway through the second period as Baines' charge inside the area was halted.

Everton were denied by the officials for a third time in the 74th minute. Cahill rounded the keeper and squared for Marouane Fellaini to tap in from close range. But whilst he was in advance of any Wigan player - he appeared to be behind Cahill with the ball also played backwards.

Philippe Senderos keeps a close eye on Jason ScotlandPhilippe Senderos keeps a close eye on Jason Scotland

It was a decision which infuriated the travelling fans and players alike. But the frustration didn't last long. A series of corners culminated with a goal in the 84th minute.

Baines' perfectly flighted corner found the unmarked Cahill five yards out. The outcome was inevitable.

With just minutes remaining - the celebration was understandably euphoric.

N'Zogbia caused a scare deep into injury time with a drive that struck the crossbar. But the three points were secure.

Another cameo from the returning Victor Anichebe and a solid opening game from Senderos - who seamlessly fitted into the shoes of the injured Sylvain Distin - meant there were significant pluses to take from this game ahead of the Merseyside derby.

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