By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Wigan Athletic were minutes away from a 2-1 home win over a Champions League contender and three huge points in their fight to avoid relegation. All signs pointed to another trademark late-season upset for Roberto Martinez’s squad.
But visiting Tottenham Hotspur had other plans. In the 89th minute, a low cross sent into a chaotic box deflected off of Wigan defender Emmerson Boyce to round out a 2-2 draw.
It was an unlucky break for Boyce, who scored an equalizer for Wigan in the 11th minute on a well-placed header. Boyce’s goal came two minutes after Gareth Bale scored off of some miscommunication between Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles and his back line. After a hesitant backpass from defender Maynor Figueroa, Robles rushed to blast a last-gasp clearance. The kick only went a few feet before rebounding straight into Robles’s net off of a deflection from Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.
Wigan took the lead just after the halftime whistle on a powerful Callum McManaman goal. The young forward, who received worldwide attention for a horror tackle on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara last month, held off the Tottenham defense and blasted an unstoppable shot into the corner of Hugo Lloris’s net.
Tottenham pressed hard for an equalizer for the rest of the second half, and it appeared the visitors were going to be unsuccessful for the longest time. But Boyce’s own goal ensured Spurs, who came close to a winner in stoppage time, a point from their trip to the DW Stadium. Spurs are now level with Chelsea with 62 points, but they trail the Blues on goal differential.
Here are the rest of Saturday’s results from the Premier League:
LIVERPOOL SCORE SIX GOALS ON MISERABLE NEWCASTLE UNITED
Heading into Saturday’s match at St. James’ Park, many wondered how Liverpool were going to score without striker Luis Suarez. After all, the Uruguayan forward, who was suspended 10 matches earlier this week for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, was the club’s only double-digit scorer in the Premier League this season.
After their offensive explosion at Newcastle, it appears Liverpool will be able to get along just fine without Suarez.
The seventh-placed Reds routed struggling Newcastle United 6-0 on Saturday. Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson each recorded a brace against the Magpies, who are still in danger of being relegated from the Premier League.
Defender Daniel Agger started the Liverpool rout in the third minute with an unmarked header. Liverpool doubled their lead less than 15 minutes later after some unselfish play from Phillipe Coutinho and Sturridge led to an easy tap-in for Henderson.
Newcastle held the Reds off for the remainder of the first half and started to generate some offense of their own. But Sturridge’s goal nine minutes after the second half kickoff, his first of a six-minute double, ended all hope of a Newcastle comeback. Fabio Borini, who came on for captain Steven Gerrard in the 72nd minute, scored Liverpool’s fifth just seconds after his substitution.
Gerrard took a knock in the middle of the second half, ending his run of playing every minute of the Premier League season.
Henderson’s second goal in the 76th minute wrapped up the scoring for Liverpool, who now have the second-most goals in the league. Newcastle now sit just five points above the drop zone with three matches remaining.
PREMIER LEAGUE SCOREBOARD
Despite officially losing their Premier League title earlier this week to their crosstown rivals, Manchester City bounced back with a 2-1 win over West Ham United. Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure each scored a brilliant goal for last season’s champions.
Everton stayed in the hunt for a European spot with a 1-0 win over Fulham. The Toffees were unlucky to get just Steven Pienaar’s 16th minute goal as they controlled their visitors for the entire 90 minutes.
West Bromwich Albion defeated Southampton 3-0 at St. Mary’s Stadium as Romelu Lukaku grabbed his team-leading 13th goal of the season. Three red cards were handed out in the second half of this testy affair between two midtable sides.
Stoke City edged closer to safety with their second straight win, a 1-0 home victory over Norwich City. Charlie Adam ended his long goal drought with a 46th-minute winner.
What do you make of these results? Think Tottenham can stay in the race for a Champions League spot? Surprised at Liverpool’s offensive performance against Newcastle without Suarez? See Newcastle staying up?
Share your comments below.