Good point for Potters
8th November 2008
A dour match it may have been, but for Stoke it was a precious away point gained to take the Potters' unbeaten run to three. On the basis of the form books it never looked like a game to set the pulses racing and so it proved.
Tony Pulis chose the same starting eleven as in last week's victory over Arsenal, but there was no doubt that away from home the only target is not to lose and this was achieved with great success. Stoke played with two lines of four with Mama Sidibe dropping back when necessary, just leaving Ricardo Fuller as the lone forward meant that the Potters were virtually impenetrable, but didn't provide much excitement in the Wigan goalmouth for the noisy travelling support in contrast to the remainder of a 60% full JJB Stadium.
The only chance of the first half came from a good cross from Danny Higginbotham. Sidibe had to climb all over the defender to get to the ball which was saved by Kirkland in the Latics' goal, but Mike Riley had already blown for Sidibe's infringement.
Stoke's game plan to frustrate any Wigan attack worked well. The Latics have only won once at home this season and were stopped at every opportunity by the resolute Stoke defence. Thomas Sorensen made some fine saves, especially towards the end as the Latics surged forward in a vain attempt to snatch a winner, but in the end it was a precious away point for the Potters.
The day's only disappointments were Mama's ankle injury just after the half time break and yet another needless yellow card for Fuller, after a coming together with Mario Melchiot. This takes him to four for the season and just one away from an automatic one match ban.
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Palacios, Cattermole, Koumas, Heskey (Camara 57), Zaki.
Subs not used: Pollitt, Kingson, Scharner, Kilbane, Brown, De Ridder.
Stoke City: Sorensen, Griffin, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Diao, Olofinjana (Whelan 86), Amdy Faye (Cresswell 84), Delap, Fuller, Sidibe (Kitson 47)
Subs not used: Simonsen, Cort, Tonge, Wilkinson