After a heroic performance to beat Manchester City at White Hart Lane, one might have expected Tottenham Hotspur to build on the victory and sweep away Wigan Athletic. That didn't happen -- they were largely outplayed by Roberto Martinez's men and nearly ended up losing but for a late own goal by Emmerson Boyce. The 2-2 draw actually hurts both sides, leaving the visitors in fifth place and the Latics still in the relegation zone.
The match started in frenetic fashion. Within five minutes, Spurs had hit the post, with Tom Huddlestone looking to catch Joel Robles unaware on a free kick from an absurdly tight angle. The Wigan keeper, seemingly still asleep, was lucky to see the 25-yard effort ricochet off the upright, but his next mistake would not go unpunished.
The opener was a comedy of errors. Maynor Figueroa had repeated chances to clear, but he and Joel insisted on passing back and forth between themselves despite heavy pressure from Gareth Bale. Eventually, the goalkeeper decided to get the ball away, casually firing into Bale's foot and watching dismayed as the bounce found its way into the top corner.
The hosts weren't behind for long, however. Immediately after conceding, they marched up the pitch and seized an equaliser, winning a corner from which Jan Vertonghen found himself utterly embarrassed by Boyce, who rose high above the centre back and powered a header past Hugo Lloris. After 11 minutes, it was 1-1, and Cliint Dempsey suggested that there might be more to come with a powerful shot that flew just wide of the post.
The next major incidents, however, were unfortunately a pair of injuries. Figueroa had to be stretchered off with what looked like a groin problem after challenging Jermain Defoe, and Tottenham also picked up a casualty when Moussa Dembele tweaked his hamstring and was withdrawn for Lewis Holtby.
It wouldn't be a Spurs match without a moment of breathtaking incompetence from Scott Parker, and that arrived late in the first half when the 2010-11 FWA Player of the Year found himself on the ball six yards from an empty net only to miscontrol and let Joel retrieve the ball. Nobody was particularly surprised.
Callum McManaman breaking the deadlock immediately after the restart, however, was a bit of a shock, especially since the goal itself was such a stunner. Despite the close attention of Kyle Naughton, the 22-year-old worked space to shoot at the edge of the box and unleashed an absolute rocket that flew over Lloris' head and nearly seared its way through the roof of the net. 2-1 Wigan.
They were good value for their lead as well. Spurs couldn't seem to find a way through their packed defence, and the hosts actually looked reasonably dangerous going forward. They were lucky, however, that Mike Dean elected to ignore Jordi Gomez's bizarre flying kick into Holtby's face, which would certainly have seen the midfielder sent off had a foul been called.
It didn't last, however. The visitors threw caution to the wind, hurling bodies forward, and eventually managed to draw level via an own goal. Aaron Lennon was the man who made it, the substitute fizzing in a low cross into a crowd of bodies. The ball bounced off Bale, then Boyce, and crept past Joel and into the back of the net to ensure a 2-2 draw despite an insane goalmouth scramble that nearly saw Defoe and Huddlestone force home.