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Stoke fight back to draw at Wigan

Wigan Athletic
2 - 2
Stoke City

The DW Stadium



Stoke twice came from behind to claim a draw at Wigan, in an open and entertaining game at the DW Stadium, maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.

The hosts took the lead at the start of both halves, but were pinned back thanks to goals from Jon Walters and Peter Crouch.

Stoke may have come away with all 3 points, but an outstanding save from Ali Habsi late on kept Wigan level.

The game also saw new signing Charlie Adam make his debut for the Potters, and it was his introduction which sprung Stoke into life after a shaky start.

Stoke struggled in the earlier proceedings, with Wigan winger Beausejour troubling Wilkinson throughout, and the Potters were made to pay after just 5 minutes, with Maloney slotting home a penalty after Huth was deemed to have handled the ball in the area.

Maloney burst into the area and laid the ball off to James Mccarthy, whose shot was blocked by Huth, and Maloney stepped up to fire Wigan in front.

Stoke, clearly rattled by the early goal, were struggling to cope against their exuberant opponents, and had Shawcross and Huth not been alert, striker Kone could've doubled the Latic's lead after good build up play from Di Santo.

Stoke just couldn't get a foothold in the game, and with Wilkinson seemingly under the weather, Charlie Adam was brought on to replace him, sparking rapturous applause from Stoke fans.

And it wasn't long before the Scottish International made his mark on the game, his first pass found Whitehead who was fouled on the edge of the area, and Adam's resulting free kick caused all sorts of mither in the Wigan area before eventually being cleared.

Stoke were now rejuvenated, and their efforts were rewarded in the 33rd minute when Figueroa handled the ball in the area, and Jon Walters made no mistake from the penalty spot to put his side level.

The goal seemed to do wonders for the visitors, and Marc Wilson could so easily have added a second, but his long-range effort hit the bar after taking a deflection off Mccarthy.

Stoke ended the first half on the up, but were soon brought back down to earth at the start of the second.

An incisive Wigan counter attack saw the impressive Kone drive into the penalty area before finding Franco Di Santo who placed the ball beyond Begovic and into the back of the net.

After fighting back to regain parity, Stoke were now back to square one again, but they refused to lie down and created a number of chances in the final 30 minutes as they attempted to wrestle their way back into the encounter.

Kightly should have made more of his effort on goal, which lacked the power to beat Wigan's keeper - and it was his artistry which also presented Geoff Cameron with an opportunity, but the American failed to connect properly as Stoke gained more and more momentum.

Cameron Jerome has found his first-team opportunities lacking since joining Stoke last summer, but he proved his worth again with an impressive cameo which saw the Potters level for the second time in the match.

The striker took his place up front alongside Peter Crouch with time running out, and it was his good work which teed up Jon Walters to provide a perfect cross for the England man at the far post to guide a header past Al-Habsi.

Both sides were desperately pushing for a winner as the game drew towards a climax.

And it was Stoke who looked to have won it late on, but Al-Habsi denied Charlie Adam a dream debut winner with a world class save as the Scot's free kick flicked off Caldwell's head and was acrobatically saved.

Star Player

Charlie Adam.

Geoff Cameron had another good game, looking assured in possession and impressive defensively, and the American looks well suited to the Premiership.

But for me, Charlie Adam's introduction changed the game and his quality is clear for all to see. Stoke have been crying out for a proper footballing central midfielder for years and years and he looks certain to be the answer of our problems.

An impressive debut, and he will only get better, especially alongside the likes of N'Zonzi.

Writer:Tom Mckeon
Date:Saturday September 1 2012
Time: 8:14PM

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