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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Saturday, 19 April 2008 16:53 UK

Wigan 1-1 Tottenham

By Aimee Lewis

Emile Heskey
Heskey held off the attentions of two defenders before firing in

Emile Heskey scored for the second time in six days as Wigan edged closer to safety with a well-deserved draw in a breathless match against Tottenham.

Spurs took a sixth-minute lead when Dimitar Berbatov stabbed home Aaron Lennon's cross from six yards.

The lead was short-lived though as Heskey neatly turned inside the box and fired home into the bottom corner.

Spurs had a first-half penalty appeal turned down, while Wigan's Marcus Bent hit the bar after the break.

Wigan could have taken the three points had it not been for the bar and Radek Cerny's second-half heroics in the Spurs goal.

Interview: Wigan manager Steve Bruce

Manager Steve Bruce will be content with a point, however - despite Bolton beating Middlesbrough - as Premier League safety is still very much in Wigan's hands.

The Latics next play struggling Reading at home and should they display the endeavour and determination on show against Spurs then the Royals could be in for a torrid time.

Of concern for Bruce will be the fitness of Heskey and Bent after both strikers limped off in the second half, though neither injuries appeared too serious.

Tottenham took an early lead in what was an entertaining first half.

Tom Huddlestone found Lennon on the right with an exquisite cross-field ball and the England winger crossed to Berbatov, who nonchalantly hit the back of the net with the outside of his right boot.

Interview: Tottenham first-team coach Gus Poyet

The visitors were seemingly in the ascendancy, with Lennon's mazy running in particular posing problems for the Wigan defence.

But Spurs are not renowned for protecting an advantage and in the 12th minute Heskey levelled.

The striker's first touch was rather heavy but the Tottenham defence - without the injured Jonathan Woodgate and Pascal Chimbonda - gave Heskey time to turn and direct the ball into the corner.

With just over 10 minutes of the half remaining, Spurs had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Lee Probert when Mario Melchiot appeared to have felled Berbatov by grabbing the Bulgarian by the shoulder.

There was still time for more action before both teams went off for a deserved breather; Melchiot's last-ditch sliding tackle denied Berbatov what would have been an easy chance, while Ryan Taylor cleared Michael Dawson's header off the line.

The second half began in similarly frantic fashion but became more pedestrian as the match went on.


Wigan wasted arguably the finest opportunity of the half when Wilson Palacios put the impressive Bent through on goal.

But the striker, when just 12 yards from goal, opted for power and his vicious shot hit the bar.

On the hour, Cerny was forced into a double save. The keeper dived low to his left to keep Antonio Valencia's cross-shot at bay and the Czech Republic international's knee then prevented Heskey's effort from the rebound.

Jermaine Jenas had the best second-half opportunity for Spurs but he shot wildly into the stands as the game petered out into a draw.

Wigan manager Steve Bruce:

"We've got ourselves in a position now where if we beat Reading next week we're safe and that's a wonderful position to be in.

"A few months ago we were everybody's whipping boys but we've responded well and given ourselves a chance.

"The point might be enough but we can't take survival for granted."

Tottenham manager Juane Ramos:

"We wanted to play at the same lively tempo we started with.

"The condition of the pitch was perhaps less than superb, which inhibited what we were able to do.

"But Wigan are a physically imposing team. They earn and deserve great respect for the performances."

Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Scharner, Kilbane, Valencia, Palacios, Brown, Taylor (Koumas 81), Bent (King 84), Heskey (Sibierski 76).
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Skoko.

Booked: Valencia, Palacios.

Goals: Heskey 12.

Tottenham: Cerny, Hutton, Dawson, Zokora, O'Hara, Lennon, Huddlestone, Jenas, Malbranque, Keane (Bent 72), Berbatov.
Subs Not Used: Forecast, Tainio, Gilberto, Rocha.

Booked: O'Hara.

Goals: Berbatov 6.

Att: 18,673

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham's Dimitar Berbatov 7.77 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day
Saturday's football photos
19 Apr 08 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
19 Apr 08 |  Premier League

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