Wigan Athletic 1 Everton 2
8:43pm Sunday 20th January 2008 in Sport
Two goals in three minutes late in the first half gave Everton a 2-1 victory they scarcely deserved to lift them into the top four of the Barclays Premier League.
Andy Johnson's sixth goal of the season was swiftly followed by a seventh this campaign from Joleon Lescott that again proved to be the winner after his decisive strike against Manchester City last week.
Wigan managed to pull one back early in the second half courtesy of an own goal from Phil Jagielka, only to fall short in their bid to salvage a point that would have been merited.
The result lifts David Moyes' side above their Merseyside rivals Liverpool - who face Aston Villa at Anfield on Monday - into a Champions League place.
Wigan, who could have clambered to 13th with a win, remain a place above the bottom three, a fact that will serve as incredulous to boss Steve Bruce.
Before the 39th minute, Bruce was arguably preparing himself to head into the break wondering how his side had not found the net, but at least firmly in the game at 0-0.
But come the half-time whistle, it would have been a totally perplexed Bruce trudging into the dressing room on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline.
Johnson got the first in the 39th minute. Winning the ball off Palacios inside the Everton half, Mikel Arteta sprayed a pass down the right wing for the striker to chase.
Although Titus Bramble managed to get their first, he horrendously sliced his attempted back pass, allowing Johnson to run on and nutmeg the advancing Chris Kirkland.
Then three minutes later Everton doubled their lead as Wigan failed to clear their lines from a corner, culminating in Lescott tapping home a Jagielka pass at the far post.
After the break, substitute Jason Koumas made an instant impact for Wigan, and with his first touch of the ball the midfielder delivered a piercing free-kick into the heart of the Everton area.
The ball skimmed off the head of Bramble who had beaten Tim Howard to the punch, dropping onto Jagielka and ricocheting off the centre-back and over the line, so halving the deficit.