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  • Stoke City 2-2 Wigan: All season best goal

    Thomas Sorensen was the hero for Stoke as the Potters twice came from behind before hanging on to a 2-2 draw with Wigan at the Britannia Stadium.

    Sorensen saved a contentious last-minute penalty from Hugo Rodallega to secure a hard-earned point for the hosts, who had gone behind to a header from Emerson Boyce and a sensational free-kick from inside his own half by Maynor Figueroa.

    Stoke had twice hit back thanks to goals by Tuncay and Ryan Shawcross but referee Mike Dean's decision to award a spot kick in the 90th minute for Robert Huth's clear foul on Jordi Gomez put their point in real danger.

    Dean and his assistant had missed the fact that Gomez was in an offside position when played through by Mario Melchiot. No matter, justice was done when Sorensen stood firm to repel Rodallega's effort - his third penalty save in four games.

    The result saw Stoke creep up into the top half of the table in 10th while Wigan moved into 12th place.

    Prior to kick-off all eyes were on the team sheet to see whether James Beattie would feature, the Stoke striker having been at the centre of a much-publicised bust-up with manager Tony Pulis over plans for a players' Christmas party.

    Pulis claimed the incident had been forgotten about and his team selection proved it with Beattie, who is just coming back from injury, taking his place on the bench.

    In his absence Tuncay got the nod to start - for just the second time since joining Stoke from Middlesbrough - alongside Ricardo Fuller and the Turkey international did not disappoint Pulis, pulling the hosts back on level terms in the 37th minute.

    It was an instinctive strike from Tuncay who, having collected the ball from a flick-on, zeroed in on goal before firing low and hard past Chris Kirkland.

    Just moments later he gave another demonstration of his undoubted class with a spectacular overhead kick that was well-blocked by Boyce at close quarters.

    Boyce enjoyed an eventful day, and had earlier put Wigan into the lead, despite Stoke having started the game the better of the two sides.

    The defender netted his third goal of the season with a brave header on 15 minutes, putting his head where it hurts after Thomas Sorensen could only parry Hugo Rodallega's bullet header into the air.

    The ensuing collision between the Wigan defender and the Stoke keeper left both injured, the goalscorer coming out worse off and returning to the pitch several minutes later sporting a heavily-bandaged head. He was eventually substituted at the break as the effects of concussion took hold.

    Paul Scharner dropped back into the heart of Wigan's defence for the second half, but it was at the other end that the Austrian nearly produced a telling contribution, his glancing header from a corner drifting inches wide of the far post on 55 minutes.

    Otherwise, Wigan were largely restricted to efforts from long range, Rodallega bringing a save out of Sorensen with a first-half free-kick while Charles N'Zogbia fired wide from a similar set-piece situation just before the break.

    But the distance of those two efforts paled into insignificance compared to Figueroa's stunning effort on 73 minutes as Wigan took the lead for a second time.

    The Honduran saw Sorensen off his line as Wigan won a free-kick just inside their own half and opted to try his luck with a first-time effort that no one in the ground could have anticipated. He could not have struck it better and the ball sailed over the furiously backpeddling Stoke keeper and into the back of the net. A better goal is unlikely to be seen all season.

    But Stoke responded magnificently and drew back on level terms less than two minutes later, Shawcross rising imperiously to head home from a corner.

    The goal could not inspire the hosts to go on and claim all three points and Beattie, who was introduced for Fuller with seven minutes remaining, did not have a sniff of goal for the remainder of the game.

    In the end it was Wigan who took the initiative to go in search of a late winner; that they did not find one was solely due to Sorensen's last gasp heroics.
    Mike Hytner / Eurosport



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