Wigan v Everton
A late penalty from Leighton Baines earned Everton a share of the spoils against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
An enthralling game ended 2-2 after the first quarter of the contest had yielded three goals, with Baines keeping his nerve from the spot in the 87th minute.
Wigan took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock when Shaun Maloney skipped past Seamus Coleman on the right and crossed the ball into the box for Arouna Kone to turn past Tim Howard.
Everton’s response was immediate. Within seconds of the restart Steven Pienaar provided another inch-perfect delivery and Nikica Jelavic planted a firm close-range header into the net.
Much of Everton’s play was pleasant on the eye again but they conceded a very disappointing goal in the 23rd minute.
Wigan goalscorer, Kone, turned provider when he got the better of John Heitinga and pulled a low pass across the face of the goal for Franco Di Santo to slam home.
Di Santo was involved again shortly after when his well-struck shot from the edge of the box forced Howard into a fine diving save.
Despite looking out of sorts, Everton had chances before the break but Ali Al Habsi readjusted himself to make an excellent save from a Leon Osman shot that took a wicked deflection, before turning away a drive from Kevin Mirallas. Leighton Baines then struck the foot of the post and the ball bounced kindly inside the box for the home side to clear.
There was a moment of controversy just before the break when Marouane Fellaini appeared to catch Maynor Figueroa with a flailing arm and as the Wigan defender lay prostrate on the floor, the Belgian was hugely relieved to see that the card waved in his direction by Kevin Friend was yellow and not red.
All in all, it was a rather unsatisfactory first-half for Everton and David Moyes made a change during the interval, withdrawing Heitinga in favour of Sylvain Distin.
Everton started the second period in rampant style.
Some intricate passing and moving from Pienaar and Jelavic paved the way for Osman early in the second period but space was limited and the final snapshot was always rising. Then Baines and Pienaar combined in typically stunning fashion and the England left-back probably expected a better finish from Mirallas when he teed him up.
Mirallas was thwarted by another Al-Habsi save when he raced through on goal and so was Osman from the edge of the box as the men in black pressed forward.
Everton were almost undone by a rare Wigan foray just after the hour but with Kone poised to take aim from point-blank range, Jagielka slid in to poke the ball away for a corner.
Referee Friend earned the wrath of the travelling hoards of Evertonians with his reluctance to award a penalty when Jelavic was twice upended inside the box but when Mirallas was impeded by Figueroa the official duly pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Baines to smash his kick into the top right-hand corner of the net and pull Everton level.
There was still time for a heart-stopping moment at the visiting end when Maloney’s effort cannoned off an Everton defender in a packed area and looped over Howard, clearing the bar by inches.