Premier League - Fortune earns Baggies point

Tue, 01 Feb 21:55:00 2011

Marc-Antoine Fortune came off the bench to earn West Brom a point as the Baggies salvaged a 2-2 draw with Wigan in a thrilling game at the Hawthorns.

West Brom took an early lead through Peter Odemwingie, before strikes from Charles N'Zogbia and Ben Watson gave Wigan a 2-1 lead at half time.

But the Baggies rallied and a battling second half performances was rewarded with a 79th minute equaliser through Fortune.

A win for Wigan would have take them out of the relegation zone, but they remain in 18th with West Brom in 16th.

The match started at break-neck speed, and Wigan could have been ahead within a minute when a long ball forward caught out Paul Scharner, allowing Hugo Rodellega to slam a shot goalwards.

But Wigan's early boldness receded as West Brom took control of the match, with Carlos Vela featuring in many of the home side's early attacks.

But it was the ever-improving Jerome Thomas that created the opening goal of the game, spotting the perfectly timed run of Odemwingie with an incisive pass that left the Nigerian striker needing to just poke the ball past the on-rushing Ali Al-Habsi with his left foot.

West Brom gained confidence from Odemwingie's strike and knocked the ball about confidently, creating a couple of half chances along the way.

But it was Wigan who found the net next and it came very much against the run of play.

It was N'Zogbia who got the goal and at times during the match he was at his unplayable best despite an eleventh hour approach from his former club Newcastle on the last day of the transfer window.

The Frenchman was hacked down by the struggling Youssouf Mulumbu on the edge of the box; N'Zogbia quickly dusted himself off before striking the free kick low and past the despairing dive of Myhill, albeit with the help of a significant deflection off the man who conceded the free kick.

If N'Zogbia was the brightest player in a Wigan shirt, Vela was making claim to be the most influential in the striped Baggies jersey, but the debutant was unable to finish a slick West Brom counter-attack when he tried to curl a first time effort when he could have taken a touch.

But for all of West Brom's attacking verve, Wigan capitalised on disorganisation in the Baggies' back line, taking the lead through Watson two minutes before half time.

Watson's swung a free kick in from the left which evaded everyone and flew straight into the net, just inside the far post.

It was a moment of frustration for Roberto Di Matteo, whose side undoubtedly offered far more than Wigan in terms of creativity and attacking guise, but were undone by an elementary defensive error.

But they fought back in the second half, with Wigan increasingly on the back foot as the game went on despite N'Zogbia and Rodallega failing to take advantage of good opportunites.

Thomas's influence grew as the game went on and his neat one-two with Chris Brunt afforded him the space to send a curling effort agonisingly wide.

Increasingly desperate, Di Matteo threw Fortune on with just over 20 minutes to go and his impact was immediate, hitting the post with a rasping drive.

Brunt also hit the woodwork moments later as the intensity of West Brom's attacks grew.

Finally, a minute later, West Brom were rewarded when Fortune rejected the opportunity to go to ground in the box, and instead settled for the corner from which he eventually scored, as he headed home Thomas's delicate dink in from the right.

West Brom could have won a penalty in the dying seconds after the ball appeared to strike Gary Caldwell on the arm, but Wigan held on as two of the Premier League's strugglers shared the points.

Michael Da Silva / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account