Wigan, Everton battle to 1-1 draw
Updated: February 04, 2012, 14:25
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WIGAN, England(AP) Substitute Victor Anichebe scored late in the second half to earn a 1-1 draw for visiting Everton against Wigan in the Premier League on Saturday.
The home side took the lead in the 76th minute through an own goal by Phil Neville after a mixup with goalkeeper Tim Howard. But Everton, which came into the game on a high after its midweek victory over league leader Manchester City, hit back in the 82nd through Anichebe's powerful header.
Everton was further bolstered by the presence of midfielder Steven Pienaar, who returned to the club on loan from Tottenham, and made his first start.
Wigan remains in the relegation zone after a poor run of four points from its last nine matches left it last in the table with 16 points, five adrift of safety.
Little separated the sides in a dour opening half at the DW Stadium as the teams battled the cold and a poor pitch before the game eventually came to life after the break.
Neville, who came on for the injured Tim Cahill at halftime, appeared to have thwarted a Wigan attack when he blocked a cross by Jean Beausejour. But the ball deflected toward Howard who let it bounce only to see it end up in the Everton goal.
"In the second half we had that little bit of luck,'' said Wigan manager Roberto Martinez. "I thought the break was what we deserved after the dominance we had and the attacking threat we showed, and the real intent to try to play our football in difficult conditions.
"At that time I thought it was the right reward and it looked like it was going to be our day, but unfortunately it wasn't.''
Anichebe replaced Tony Hibbert with nine minutes remaining and managed to level the scores two minutes later from a cross by Leighton Baines.
"I think the effort we put in in midweek, physically and mentally, did take a bit out of us but Wigan had to play as well so it was the same for them,'' said Everton manager David Moyes. "We never really sparked. When we went a goal down we came alive and looked as if we were going to get back in it but we were waiting on it happening today rather than making it happen.''
And it was Everton hanging on in the final minutes as Wigan sought a late winner, coming close to converting a corner with time running out only for the visitors to clear the danger.