Fortune earns West Brom a draw with Wigan
Substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune earned West Bromwich Albion a 2-2 draw at home to Wigan in a Premier League relegation dogfight on Tuesday.
West Brom made an ideal start with Peter Odemwingie finding the net in the fifth minute, but then paid the price for failing to defend two free kicks. Charles N'Zogbia's effort after 20 minutes took a deflection on its way in and Ben Watson's hopeful cross into the box somehow landed in the back of the net just before the break.
But Fortune, who had come close a few minutes earlier, earned the home side a share of the points with a header in the 79th minute.
West Brom is 16th in the table and Wigan lies in 18th place, just the wrong side of the relegation divide.
West Brom took the lead with its first meaningful attack. Jerome Thomas was the creator with a perfectly-weighted long ball which picked out the run of Odemwingie, who beat the offside trap and kept his cool before sliding the ball past keeper Ali Al Habsi.
It was Odemwingie's ninth goal of the season - all of them being scored in the Premier League.
Albion looked to be on top and its Swedish defender Jonas Olsson soon sent a powerful header past the post from a free-kick sent over by Chris Brunt.
But Wigan drew level after Youssouf Mulumbu brought down midfielder Charles N'Zogbia, who was in outstanding form. N'Zogbia took the free-kick from the edge of the box and his low shot deflected off Mulumbu before flying past Boaz Myhill into the corner of the net for the winger's first goal in 13 matches.
Wigan was now taking control of the game and N'Zogbia was proving a handful to the West Brom defense. One of the Frenchman's powerful runs took him past defenders Paul Scharner and Gonzalo Jara before his volley from a narrow angle was beaten out by Myhill at the expense of a corner.
Brunt drilled a low drive just past the post in reply after being teed up by Carlos Vela but Wigan took the lead in the 42nd minute after Jara was booked for chopping down Honduran defender Maynor Figueroa.
Watson lofted the free-kick into the danger area from the left of the area and no one got a touch before it flew into the far corner of the net.
The second half was a more evenly-balanced affair, but clear-cut chances were few in number until the closing stages.
West Brom twice came agonizingly close to equalizing in the space of two minutes when Fortune sent a rasping shot against the base of the right hand post in the 73rd minute and Brunt curled the ball against the upper part of the same post in the 75th.
But Fortune made no mistake shortly afterwards, heading home at the near post after Thomas had chipped a clever ball into the area, and it was all West Brom after that.
Al Habsi needed to produce a superb save to turn over a header from Olsson following a cross by Brunt and the home side then had penalty appeals rejected in injury-time when the ball bounced up and appeared to hit the hand of Gary Caldwell. Still the pressure did not let up and Al Habsi denied Fortune at the foot of a post before the very end.