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Sunday October 18, 2009Wigan Athletic 1 - 1 Manchester City

By William Wood | In Match Reports - Away Games

Manchester City had to settle for a share of the spoils as they drew 1-1 with Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium in a match that saw Micah returned to the starting-eleven.

A number of absences saw Mark Hughes move his defence around, with Micah selected in central defence alongside Joleon Lescott as the Eastlanders looking to keep pace with arch-rivals Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

Roberto Martinez has enjoyed a mixed start to his tenure as manager of Wigan, but the aesthetically-pleasing football his team have employed was clear from the opening minutes.

Charles N’Zogbia got the first effort of the match off as he fired his shot over from distance, while Paul Scharner followed up soon after via good play by Jason Scotland.

Former Newcastle United midfield N’Zogbia was making a real nuisance of himself, slicing his shot just wide of Shay Given’s post with nine minutes on the clock, though Emmanuel Adebayor reminded the hosts of the danger City posed when he cut inside only for his goal-bound effort to be blocked.

Carlos Tevez also had a half-chance as he instigated a move in midfield with a fine touch before bursting forward, but Wayne Bridge’s cross rebounded off the Argentinian’s face after he failed to anticipate the Wigan defence missing the ball.

Hugo Rodallega was the next to go close as he controlled 30-yards from goal and forced Given to parry clear after 37 minutes, while Micah himself went close as he was inches from directing Martin Petrov’s in-swinging free-kick home.

As both sides tussled for the advantage, Wigan netted twice but only one of the goals was to count. First, N’Zogbia thought he had scored following great play by Scotland, but the former was adjudged to have fouled Barry in the lead up.

The home side did, however, seize the lead in stoppage time as Rodallega got his shot away, and with Given only able to palm the ball into the path of N’Zogbia, the lively midfielder beat Bridge to the ball to make it 1-0.

Just as Wigan had silenced their opponents a minute before the interval, so City reciprocated in the 46th minute. Tevez attacked down the right and Shaun Wright-Phillips’ allowed the cross to run, Petrov then stepping forth to curl the ball into the back of the net.

Great defending kept Wigan on level terms as City cranked up the pressure, an inch-perfect tackle from Titus Bramble as Adebayor lined-up a shot stopping a sure-fire goal and Wright-Phillips’ shot being equally-well blocked.

Barry went close after 63 minutes when he directed Barry’s cross towards goal but Chris Kirkland – who moments earlier had a dislocated finger pushed back into its socket – was there to make a solid stop.

Things were to take a turn for the worse for City. Scotland beat Zabaleta to the ball and the Argentina international was unable to pull out of the tackle, taking his opponent out and receiving a red card for his efforts.

As such, Hughes had to switch things around, pushing Micah to right-back and bringing on Vincent Kompany for Adebayor.

Jordi Gomez could have handed Wigan the three points with ten minutes remaing but saw his low effort denied by Given’s legs, while Rodallega met N’Zogbia’s cross only for the Republic of Ireland stopper to smother the ball.

There were to be no other clear-cut shots as both sides played out the four minutes of injury time, and Hughes will arguably be the happier of the two managers considering the sending off of Zabaleta. City move up to fifth in the Premier League table.