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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
23:08 9th February 2010

Wigan Athletic 1 Stoke City 1

TUNCAY'S late header proved to be enough to secure a thoroughly deserved point against Wigan at the DW Stadium . . . and preserve Stoke City's unbeaten start to 2010.

The Turkey captain neatly headed home Matty Etherington's centre in the 73th minute to cancel out Paul Scharner's first half goal for the Latics.

The result means City retain their spot in eleventh place in the Premier League, some nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Ahead of the game Tony Pulis made two changes to his starting line up with both Ricardo Fuller and Liam Lawrence dropping down to the bench as the City boss opted to change his tactics. Their places in the team went to Tuncay and Glenn Whelan.

The hosts included transfer window signing Victor Moses in their squad, however, he was forced to settle for a place on the bench with Jason Scotland preferred in attack alongside their key performer this season Hugo Rodallega.

Danny Higginbotham chases down Charles N'Zogbia. ACTION IMAGES

It was the hosts who began to assert themselves during the opening exchanges with Rodallega in-particular causing City's backline a number of problems.

His power and persistence saw him get the better of Andy Wilkinson in just the third minute before firing an effort goalwards only for Ryan Shawcross to divert out for a corner.

The Columbian striker then brushed aside the Wilkinson's challenge before Shawcross cynically hacked him down just outside the penalty area to win the hosts a free-kick. However, Charles N'Zogbia's powerful effort was brilliantly blocked by Shawcross.

Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy battle for the ball. ACTION IMAGES

Two minutes later the Latics won another free-kick only this time it was slightly further out. Former Newcastle man N'Zogbia flighted a delicious ball into the penalty area which Scharner rose highest to meet and headed home his fourth goal of the campaign.

The Potters immediately pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but despite the best efforts of Danny Higginbotham and Republic of Ireland international Whelan, Wigan's back line managed to stand their ground and retain their one goal lead.

Turkey skipper Tuncay was then tripped 20-yards out after dancing his way past Titus Bramble. However, from the resulting effort German star Robert Huth saw Bramble come to his sides rescue with a superb block with the ball looking goalbound.

Ricardo Fuller and Mohammed Diame battle for the ball. ACTION IMAGES

Austrian midfielder Scharner then went close to doubling Wigan's advantage with a glancing header which flashed just wide, before Sorensen had to be alert to thwart both Mohamed Diame and former Swansea man Jason Scotland.

The half ended with Huth receiving a yellow card for a late challenge on James McCarthy, however the decision angered both the players and visiting supporters as the ball looked to have clearly been out of play before the incident occurred.

The second half began and City could have been on level terms within five minutes of the restart. Etherington's surging ball forward from the half way line was headed back across goal by Huth straight into the path of Tuncay, however, he mistimed his effort and the ball was comfortably gathered by Chris Kirkland.

Just before the hour mark Pulis introduced Fuller at the expense of Delap as he looked for an avenue back into the contest, but it was almost as good as over in the 65th minute when Rodagella went agonisingly close for the hosts with an ambitious bicycle kick which deceived Sorensen and bounced over off the crossbar.

Tuncay shields the ball from James McCarthy. ACTION IMAGES

The Potters went close shortly after as Sidibe flicked Higginbotham's long punt forward through to Fuller, only for the Jamaican to see his powerful effort saved well by England World Cup hopeful Sorensen. The assault on the Wigan goal continued and Whitehead teed up Tuncay, but his effort was sliced horribly wide from 10-yards.

City's pressure paid off in the 73rd minute as they drew themselves level. Gary Caldwell cleared the ball away from goal, but only as far as Etherington, who neatly touched the ball forward and whipped across a dangerous ball which Tuncay perfectly headed into the bottom right hand corner; sending the 2,500 visiting supporters behind the goal into delirium.

Tuncay rises to head home City's equaliser at Wigan Athletic. ACTION IMAGES

60 seconds later things could have gotten even better for the visitors as Fuller set up Malian striker Sidibe, however, frpom 6-yards out he headed the ball off the crossbar with Kirkland stranded on his line.

Wigan livened up following the introduction of new boy Marcelo Moreno, and he went close late on whilst substitute James Beattie went even closer to stealing all three points for the Potters in stoppage time.

    Data provided by Press Association

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