02/02/2013: Wigan 2-2 Saints

Saints came away from their first ever visit to the DW Stadium with a point. Mauricio Pochettino's men looked to have snatched a victory, only to concede a sloppy late goal. Saints were poor for most of the first half, but dominated after the break.

The game experienced a fairly scrappy start. Saints were well below their best throughout the first half. The visitors had trouble playing through a well organised Wigan side. Saints were often forced to go long. The first chance did fall to the away side however. Artur Boruc started the move, rolling the ball out to Luke Shaw. Shaw worked the ball down the line to Jay Rodriguez, who switched the play to the opposite flank. The ball eventually found its way to Morgan Schneiderlin, who blazed over the bar. In the 12th minute Franco Di Santo came very close to opening the scoring, only to see his effort brilliantly saved by Boruc. At the other end Gaston Ramirez really should have given Saints the lead. The Uruguayan beat the offside trap, but cleared the bar after latching on to Rickie Lambert's pass. Ramirez had enough time to take a touch and really should have done much better. Saints would come to rue that miss, with Wigan taking a 25th minute lead. Steven Caldwell got away from Maya Yoshida at a corner, before planting a powerful header past Boruc. Saints came close to levelling in the most bizarre of circumstances. James McCarthy's clearance bounced off Schneiderlin, with the ball flying dangerously towards goal. Ali Al-Habsi did well to tip it away. Pochettino made a few minor tweaks, with Jason Puncheon and Rodriguez switching flanks. Saints had a fair chunk of possession, and did improve slightly towards the end of the half, but still struggled to break the Latics down. The back four looked a lot less convincing than they have done in recent weeks.

Saints were much improved after the break. Pochettino brought Steven Davis on for Ramirez, just as he had done at Old Trafford. The change was just as effective as it was in Manchester. Saints dominated the second half, never allowing the home side a moment's peace on the ball. There were some communication problems between the Wigan back four and the keeper, which Saints did well to exploit. The pressure eventually paid off in the 64th minute. Jack Cork's cross was headed on for Rodriguez, who flicked the ball up for Lambert. The Southampton striker got to the ball ahead of Al Habsi to give Pochettino's men a deserved equaliser. The momentum was very much with the away side at that point, but for a while it looked as if the second goal would never arrive. Substitute Adam Lallana hit the post, while Lambert's volley flashed across the face of goal. Saints did eventually make their dominance count. In the 85th minute James Ward-Prowse won possession near the half-way line, before playing in Rodriguez down the left-hand side. The former Burnley attacker brilliantly beat his man, before crossing low for Schneiderlin, who had a simple finish. Sadly the celebrations were soon to be cut short. Wigan cranked up the pressure in the closing stages, and eventually found a leveller in the 90th minute. Shaw played Shaun Maloney onside at a corner, with the diminutive playmaker firing in from close range for 2-2.

It's difficult to know how to feel after that one. On the one hand, a point away from home is always a bonus, and most would have taken a draw at half-time. That late equaliser is still hard to take, however. Both goals Saints conceded were sloppy and preventable. We've thrown away far too many points from silly mistakes this season, and you do wonder how many more times we can get away with it. There are plenty of positives to take away however. We played some good stuff in the second half, and created more than enough chances to kill the game off. Pochettino's substitutions did make a difference. His celebration for the second goal was priceless, it's just a shame the team couldn't quite hold on. The lads are clearly buying into his ideas. Surely it's only a matter of time before we start turning draws into wins.

Attendance: 18,598

Match Ratings:

Boruc: 7. Made one world class save in the first half and generally pretty good overall. Perhaps could have done slightly better for the 2nd goal

Clyne: 6. Slightly below his very high standards. A bit suspect defensively at times.

Hooiveld: 6. Not always 100% convincing, but still fairly solid. Some decent long passes

Yoshida: 6. Lost his man for the first goal, but generally ok

Shaw: 7. Made some fantastic bursting runs down the left. Showed some inexperience in the build-up to the second goal

Cork: 8. Looked comfortable on the ball throughout, starting counter attacks and bringing the ball out from congested areas. Gave the team a fresh attacking impetuous from right-back

Schneiderlin: 8. Running out of superlatives. A goal along with a bucket load of interceptions

Puncheon: 6. Made plenty of decent runs, but end product not always up to scratch

Ramirez: 5. Closing down nearly rescued a couple of lost causes, but a passenger for much of the first half

Rodriguez: 8. Created a few openings out of nothing. Had a role in both goals

Lambert: 8. A goal and a great all-round display

Substitutes:

Davis: 7. Gave Saints a greater degree of control

Lallana. 6. Getting his sharpness back. Unlucky not to score

Ward-Prowse: A sold cameo, won possession prior to the second goal.