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Saturday, February 4, 2012
GALAXY: Awful bounce costs Everton

By Scott French

Landon Donovan fueled Everton's best chance before a chaotic finish, marked by fellow American Tim Howard's misplay of an odd bounce, left Saturday's English Premier League clash at Wigan Athletic at 1-1.

A late own goal, with Howard fooled by a “googly” bounce, was answered by substitute Victor Anichebe, and the Toffees shared the points for the second straight away game.

Donovan, going 90 minutes for the eighth straight game in his eight-week loan spell, created an early chance with a space-opening ball for Denis Stracqualursi, but the pass needed a little more pace to be effective. It got caught under the Argentine forward, who wasn't able to get full power on the shot.

It was a rather drab encounter until the final 15 minutes. Wigan went ahead in the 76th minute when Everton captain Phil Neville redirected a Jean Beausejour cross from the left. The ball appeared to be be heading straight to Howard, who moved to his left to corral it. When it hit the weathered turf in the goalmouth, the ball instead spun sharply to the left, wrong-footing Howard, who was helpless as he watched the ball bounce inside the right post.

“It was a welcome surprise,” Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, whose team had lost its previous five games, told media after the match. “In the second half we had that little bit of luck. We haven't had much luck this season.”

Nigerian forward Anichebe came on in the 81st and netted the equalizer two minutes later, heading home a Leighton Barnes cross that followed two corner kicks.

“We never really sparked ...,” Everton manager David Moyes said. “We were waiting on it happening today rather than making it happen, but I didn't think we looked like we were going to concede a goal today. We looked comfortable most of the time, and it was a complete freak.”

Everton (8-10-6), which welcomed back South African midfielder Steven Pienaar, arriving on loan from Tottenham. remained 11th in the EPL standings, its 30 points the midpoint between a spot next season in European competition and the drop zone. Wigan (3-14-7) is last.





GAME BY GAME
Jan. 1 at West Bromwich Albion (W, 1-0)

Did not dress
Jan. 4 vs. Bolton (L, 1-2)
Started, 90 minutes
Jan. 7 F.A. Cup third round vs. Tamworth (W, 2-0)
Started, 90 minutes, one assist (Heitinga)
Jan. 11 at Tottenham (L, 0-2)
Started, 90 minutes, yellow card
Jan. 14 at Aston Villa (T, 1-1)
Started, 90 minutes, one assist (Anichebe)
Jan. 21 vs. Blackburn (T, 1-1)
Started, 90 minutes
Jan. 27 F.A. Cup fourth round vs. Fulham (W, 2-1)
Started, 90 minues, two assists (Stracqualursi, Fellaini)
Feb. 1 vs. Manchester City (W, 1-0)
Started, 90 minutes, assist (Gibson)
Feb. 4 at Wigan Athletic (T, 1-1)
Started, 90 minutes

Remaining games
Feb. 11 vs. Chelsea
Feb. 18 F.A. Cup round of 16 vs. Sheffield Wednesday or Blackpool
Feb. 25 at Liverpool