Everton 2 Wigan 1: Osman and Jagielka keep Toffees on track as captain Neville reaches 500 not out
17:17 GMT, 26 December 2012
Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka made sure Everton captain Phil Neville enjoyed his 500th Premier League game.
After a goalless opening 45 minutes, Osman fired home, with the help of a deflection, early in the second half and Jagielka looked to have put the result beyond doubt with a header after being set up by Neville.
Arouna Kone set up a frantic finish when he cut the deficit in half but the hosts held on to stay in fourth place in the table – for a few hours at least.
Breakthrough: Leon Osman punches the air in celebration after scoring for Everton against Wigan (below)
Everton: Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin (Heitinga 70), Baines, Osman, Hitzlsperger, Gibson (Naismith) 46), Pienaar, Jelavic, Anichebe (Oviedo 70).
Subs not used: Mucha, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios.
Goals: Osman 52, Jagielka 77
Wigan: Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa, Stam (Gomez 79), McCarthy, Jones (Di Santo 72), McArthur, Beausejour, Maloney, Kone.
Subs not used: Pollitt, McManaman, Boselli, Ramis, Golobart.
Goal: Kone 82
Booked: Beausejour, Figueroa, Caldwell
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
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A large group of Wigan fans came in banana costume, in keeping with their town's Boxing Day tradition of fancy dress.
But the party will be limited to town centre revellers after a sixth game for the Latics passed without a win.
The visitors thought they should have had a penalty when Shaun Maloney went down in a challenge from Osman but referee Lee Mason was not convinced.
Everton, who will now hope to push on and mount a strong top-four challenge, also had some good chances, not least when Thomas Hitzlsperger hit the bar. Everton almost made the perfect start as Nikica Jelavic laid off a Darron Gibson cross and Victor Anichebe flashed a shot wide with just 13 seconds on the clock.
Wigan also wanted to attack and a good Jean Beausejour cross aimed at Kone was clutched by Tim Howard at the second attempt.
The influential James McCarthy also had a powerful effort from outside the area blocked.
Leighton Baines created a chance for Everton when he skipped over a challenge from Ronnie Stam to supply Steven Pienaar and Ali Al Habsi did well to turn his shot around the post.
Heads up: Phil Jagielka (right) is congratulated after scoring Everton's second
Stretch too far: Wigan keeper Al Habsi fails to stop Jagielka's header as Steven Naismith watches the ball go in
Anichebe headed wide from a Hitzlsperger cross but Wigan began to assert themselves in the game more as McCarthy and James McArthur drove forward.
Kone and Maloney linked up well outside the area but attempted one pass too many and a promising attack broke down.
Maloney tried his luck from a free-kick after McCarthy was tripped by Gibson – who was free to play after appealing against his red card at West Ham last weekend – but Howard parried and then gathered.
Howard was in action again as Stam struck a low shot from 20 yards but saved comfortably.
500 not out: Everton captain Phil Neville (right) in action against Wigan on Boxing Day
Everton applied some pressure by winning a series of corners in quick succession and felt they should have had penalties at two of them.
Anichebe first claimed he was being held back by Beausejour and then there was an appeal for handball against Maloney but referee Mason gave nothing.
The first half came to a tame end but Everton returned with renewed vigour after the break and were soon rewarded.
Lifeline: Arouna Kone (right) scored late on as Wigan pressed
Wigan were given a warning when Hitzlsperger struck a thunderous long-range effort against the bar and then Osman dribbled his way through the area only to fail to test Al Habsi.
Osman got lucky when he next aimed for goal after 52 minutes, his shot from just outside the area striking Caldwell's arm and wrong-footing the unfortunate Al Habsi.
There was controversy as Wigan tried to respond as Maloney went to ground in the area in a challenge from Osman.
Too little, too late: Kone was keen to get on with things after his goal but Wigan couldn't find a second
Latics were incensed not to be awarded a penalty and Beausejour was booked for his protest but replays suggested Maloney may have already been going down before the contact.
Kone had a good opportunity from six yards after Maloney whipped in a good ball from the right but Neville made a vital block at point-blank range.
It was a miss the visitors were to rue as Everton grabbed a decisive second 13 minutes from time.
Ground force: Ronnie Stam slides in to challenge Everton full-back Leighton Baines
Neville was on hand to receive a short corner from substitute Bryan Oviedo and marked his landmark appearance by sending in an inch-perfect cross for Jagielka, who powered in a header off the bar.
But Wigan, as ever, fought on and gave themselves late hope when Kone bundled the ball in at close range after Jagielka and Baines failed to clear from a Maloney shot.
The visitors applied more pressure as time ran out but were unable to find a way through stubborn Everton defending.
Getting to grips: Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar tries to get away from Emmerson Boyce
Tussle: Everton's Victor Anichebe (left) and Wigan star Maynor Figueroa battle for the ball