A superb 17th minute strike by Mauro Boselli was the difference between the two sides as Wigan ended Bournemouth’s 18 game unbeaten run in all competitions. Wigan will now face non-league Macclesfield Town in the FA Cup fourth round on 26th January at Moss Rose.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez once again decided to utilise his squad players in this FA Cup third round replay at the Goldsands Stadium (Dean Court). The manager gave full debuts to new signings Angelo Henriquez and Roger Espinoza with only Emmerson Boyce and Maynor Figueroa remaining from the starting line up at Fulham.
In freezing cold conditions Bournemouth started the better of the two sides with Simon Francis firing over the Wigan bar. But it was Wigan who took the lead on 17 minutes after a Bournemouth mistake.
The £6.5m Argentinian striker Boselli has struggled since signing for Wigan but he fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner after racing on to a mistake by Harry Arter.
Roger Espinoza was making a distinguished debut and Wigan looked defensively solid with Boyce, Figueroa and Roman Golobart all putting in good performances but as the half drew to a close the Cherries pressed hard for an equaliser with Euan O’Kane rattling the angle of post and crossbar.
Ali Al Habsi replaced veteran keeper Mike Politt at half time and Bournemouth continued their pressure on the Latics goal.
Harry Arter had a good shot saved by Al Habsi and Golobart made an important block in the penalty area. However Wigan could have increased their lead but Shwan Jalal made a top-drawer save to keep out Boselli’s header.
In a frenetic last few minutes Marc Pugh went close to levelling when his deflected effort came back off the crossbar.
Substitute Nouha Dicko then had a glorious opportunity after good work by Espinoza but the French winger put his effort wide of the post.
Substitute Matt Tubbs then saw his strike through a crowd of players bounce wide of the post before the striker’s free-kick from 25 yards was acrobatically pushed away by Al Habsi.
There was just time for a Wigan breakaway, but with the visitors players outnumbering their opponents, Henriquez unfortunately strayed offside and the chance came to nothing.
Wigan had just edged out their Division One opponents in a hard fought encounter and Eddie Howe’s team deserve great credit for the way they pushed their Premier League opponents right up until the 94th minute.
Wigan fans will now be looking forward to a rare foray into the FA Cup fourth round and a trip to former 1970’s non-league rivals Macclesfield Town.