Espinoza has debut to remember as Wigan recover

Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 00:00

Stoke City 2 Wigan Athletic 2:With a booking and a hand in all four goals Roger Espinoza had a full league debut to remember, though what Wigan supporters will remember is how he took charge of the game. Wigan suddenly have a new go-to man, and their second-half recovery was encouraging.

Wigan’s South American connection got them into trouble midway through the first half. The visitors were just about holding their own in midfield, when the the Honduran gave a foul away on the edge of his area. When Charlie Adam chipped in the free-kick Jean Beausejour attempted a headed clearance only to hit his team-mate James McCarthy in the back of the neck, leaving the ball to sit up invitingly for Ryan Shawcross to stroke a volley past Ali al-Habsi.

Espinoza also played a part in the next three goals, though for the first he was slightly unlucky when his reverse pass in the Stoke penalty area found only Geoff Cameron. The defender sent Adam on a lonesome run from half way, Al-Habsi could only beat out the eventual shot, and Peter Crouch scored the rebound.

With three minutes of the second half played that should have been that, but Wigan and Espinoza are made of stronger stuff and hit back almost immediately. The midfielder’s pass was intended for Franco Di Santo, who was blocked off but the ball ran to James McArthur to improvise a finish.

It was no great surprise to see the same three players bring Wigan level on the hour. Espinoza’s cross found McArthur, whose knockdown was tucked away by Di Santo. It is too early for celebrations yet, but a team that can come back from two goals down in Stoke surely has another great escape up its sleeve.

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