FORGOTTEN man Shaun Maloney was understandably delighted to put seven months of frustration behind him as he showed Wigan Athletic the way out of their relegation battle.
Maloney was a surprise inclusion on the bench yesterday at Norwich, after barely featuring since his August arrival from Celtic.
But he fully justified the faith shown in him by Roberto Martinez by entering the fray and rescuing a point for his side.
Latics had trailed at the break to Wes Hoolahan’s early volley, but Maloney’s introduction at the start of the second period helped tip the balance in the visitors’ favour.
He laid the equaliser on a plate for Victor Moses with a sublime through-ball, and his invention ought to have brought about a late winner only for an awful miss from Momo Diame.
Maloney is now determined to build on his run-out and help Latics move away from the foot of the table in the nick of time.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had a run-out, and it has been a frustrating few months for me since I’ve been here,” he told the Evening Post.
“It was just nice to get out there and show exactly what I can do, and be of value to the team.”
Maloney believes Wigan were full value for their point, which redressed the balance somewhat following last weekend’s dismal home defeat to Swansea.
“It was a decent result because it was important we came here and got something,” he added.
“Not too many teams have come here and got anything, and we even had chances at the end to get all three points.
“We had a couple of half-chances towards the end and with better finishing we could have got the win.
“In fairness to them, they got a couple of decent free-kick opportunities late on that could have led to goals, so a draw was probably right.
“When you create chances to win the game and don’t take them, though, you’re always going to be a bit disappointed.”
Despite weekend wins for relegation rivals Bolton and Blackburn, Maloney insists Wigan’s fate remains in their own hands with 10 matches remaining.
“We now need to take this performance into Saturday and pick up all three points against West Brom,” he recognised.
“There are 10 games left and they’re all vital – none more so than Saturday because it’s the next game and it’s also a home game.
“Everyone is well aware we have to improve our home form because it’s not been good enough – and we need to put that right.”