A sunny day at The Brit,and,its fair to say some good football on offer at times.Like Stoke Wigan are physically imposing,pretty speedy about the pitch,and skillful to boot.
Danny Collins gave way to the returning Ryan Shawcross,flu victim Lawrence was replaced by Whitehead,and Tuncay retained a place in the starting lineup.
Wigan took the lead on 15 minutes,following a needless foul conceded by Abdy Faye on the left.A powerful header from the freekick into the six yard box brought a point blank reaction save from Sorensen,but he was powerless to keep out Boyce's follow up header.
We had to wait 20 minutes for an equaliser.Stoke were playing the ball around in the Wigan half looking for an opening,when,to universal groans,Whitehead made a long pass back to keeper Sorensen.
Within seconds the moans turned to delirious cheers.Tommy Sorensen's resultant long punt upfield was headed out toward the left wing where Tuncay was unmarked.He made rapid progess toward goal before driving the ball powerfully inside the near post to the far corner of the net.
His first goal for Stoke in the Prem,and literally within seconds he could have notched another.He performed a magical overhead kick in the Wigan goalmouth.Nine times out of ten it would have brought us a goal,keeper Kirkland was nowhere,but the very tip of a defenders boot produced a deflection just over the bar.
Figueroa gave Wigan the lead once again(72mins).Stoke conceded another freekick,wide out on the left just inside the Wigan half. No-one - certainly not the Stoke players - expected what happened next.The ball was stationary,Figueroa -spotting Sorensen off his line- ran up and hit the ball hard toward the Stoke net where it duly arrived having cleared the stranded Stoke keeper.
Within two minutes Stoke were back on terms.Dean Whitehead won a corner on the right.Etherington's excellent delivery left Shawcross with, for him,a straightforward header into kirkland's net.
Excitement over? Certainly not.89 minutes gone,Melchiot drives forward,the ball reaches a clearly offside player (one of two not spotted by the linesman....despite having an unobstructed view) in the Stoke area,but as he shapes to shoot he is fouled by Huth.Yellow card and a penalty.Looked all over.
But we reckoned without Tommy Sorensen.Rodallega's effort looked tentative,and lacked power.Soro made it five penalty saves out of the last six (two for Denmark)clearing with his leg.Justice done!
Mike Dean managed to conjure 5 minutes of added time,during which the visitors went all out for a winner,with Stoke just hanging on.
One or two thoughts.Mike Dean did not have he best of games....Tuncay had a storming game throughout....Beattie got onto the pitch for the last few minutes= Pulis as good as his word !Wigan in charge in the first half Stoke in the second.Both sides had sufficient chances to have won the game.
My own view is that the crowd were much more patient again yesterday thank goodness.Maybe this reflects more realistic levels of expectation again.The fans got behind the team when it really mattered,and the destructive idiot booing was largely absent - long may it remain so,because we simply cannot afford the team to become apprehensive about playing at home.
Tuncay and Huth could tell us what that did to Middlesborough last season.
Sorensen , Huth , AbdoulayeFaye , Wilkinson , Shawcross , Delap , Etherington , Whitehead , Diao (Whelan ,62 ) , Fuller (Beattie ,83 ) , Sanli