Wigan manager Roberto Martinez sang the praises of Ben Watson after his late penalty saw them draw 2-2 at Stoke on Saturday.
The visitors took the lead through Victor Moses on the stroke of half-time, but a Jonathan Walters spot-kick and a Cameron Jerome header – both scored in the last 15 minutes – looked to have won it for Stoke, especially with Wigan reduced to 10 men.
But Ryan Shotton was judged to have tugged the shirt of Hugo Rodallega in the penalty box with the just three minutes to play and Martinez acted immediately by introducing Watson in place of David Jones.
The midfielder’s first action was to convert the penalty, and he buried the opportunity to give Wigan a late point and move up to 18th on the English Premier League table.
“Taking a penalty is something of a specialist (area) and we have two specialists, Jordi Gomez and Ben Watson,” Martinez said.
“Jordi wasn’t on the pitch at that time and it would have been very unfair or a big gamble to put another player in that position.”
“Ben Watson for me is one of the best technical players in English football and that’s his forte, the big thing for me is that he showed he was ready to step up for team.”
“He’s missed the past two penalties, but if you’ve got a job to do then I will pick my specialist. If I could have brought Jordi Gomez back on then I would have done. In the end, that kick meant the point.”
Martinez still felt aggrieved his side only got the one point, with Stoke making the most of their few opportunities on goal.
“Looking at the whole performance I’m disappointed with getting just one point,” he said.
“We limited Stoke to only three attempts on target, only one of those is the goal and the other two are the actions in the penalty. On top of that I feel that we were a real threat on the counter. The goal from Victor Moses from open play, which is that hardest thing in football, was delightful.”
Stoke assistant manager Dave Kemp felt the late penalty was not the correct decision.
“I’ve only looked at it again briefly, I suppose you would argue there was some kind of tug that no one else managed to see,” Kemp said.
“It’s not a penalty. For me, when penalties are given you expect them to be clear-cut. It was one of those phantom ones and we were on the wrong end of it.”