Everton go 4th to beat Wigan
A Titus Bramble error cost Wigan dearly as Andy Johnson and Joleon Lescott goals catapulted Everton up to fourth in the Premiership above local rivals Liverpool. Wigan failed to come back to equalise despite an own goal from Phil Jagielka pulled one back.
If ever there was a half of football that summed up cruel life can be at the bottom, then the opening 45 minutes at Wigan was it.
Before the 39th minute, boss Steve Bruce was probably preparing himself to head into the break wondering how his side had not found the net.
But come half-time it would was a stunned manager trudging into the dressing room two goals down.
Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios curled a right-foot shot inches wide in the opening minute.
After Chris Kirkland saved a drive from Mikel Arteta, Wigan should have taken the lead with two chances inside three minutes.
Tim Howard firstly tipped the ball on to the bar from a powerful header by Marcus Bent before Antonio Valenciaâs drive that was bravely blocked by Tim Cahill.
Wigan were on top but they were soon stunned and staring at a 2-0 deficit.
Johnson had previously hooked one half-chance over the bar before getting his name on the scoresheet in the 39th minute.
Winning the ball off Palacios inside the Everton half, Arteta sprayed a pass down the right wing for Johnson to chase.
Although Bramble managed to get their first, he horrendously sliced his attempted back pass to allow Johnson to run on and nutmeg keeper Chris Kirkland.
Everton doubled their lead three minutes later as Wigan failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Lescott took advantage by tapping home a Jagielka pass at the far post.
Denny Landzaat replaced by Jason Koumas in the 52nd minute and the Welsh midfielder had an instant impact.
With his first touch of the ball he delivered a piercing free-kick into the heart of the area.
The ball skimmed off the head of Bramble, who had beaten Howard to the punch, and it fired off Jagielka into the net.
Everton then weathered a storm as Wigan tried in vain to grab the equaliser.
Yet, the visitors almost restored their two-goal cushion in the 67th minute when a Leon Osman half-volley from 15 yards shaved the left-hand post.