Eagles eliminated as Wigan march on – Wigan Athletic 2 Crystal Palace 1

Ben Watson Wigan Athletic

FA Cup final hero Ben Watson gave Wigan the lead

The FA Cup holders progressed to the fifth round with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Premier League Crystal Palace at the DW Stadium.

Last season’s Cup Final hero Ben Watson steered in James McClean’s pull back to give Wigan a half time lead.

Palace drew level when substitute Aaron Wilbraham pounced on a loose ball inside the six-yard box following a corner in the 69th minute.

But with 12 minutes of normal time remaining McClean’s deflected low shot from 15 yards sealed the victory for the Latics.

Wigan manager Uwe Rosler made four changes from the Championship defeat to Doncaster Rovers last weekend, with James McClean, Callum McManaman, Roger Espinoza and James Perch coming into the starting eleven.

The Eagles are struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table and it was evident that the Latics believed they could cause an upset as they dominated the opening period.

The young Liverpudlian McManaman was on fine form and was making it difficult for the Palace left-back Jonathan Parr with some excellent wing play.

But Wigan’s opener came on the opposite flank after some good work by Espinoza allowed McClean to break free and cross the ball for Watson to expertly side foot home.

Palace suffered a further set back just before half time when full back Parr was carried off on a stretcher with a serious-looking neck injury after a collision with McManaman.

Palace rarely threatened in the opening half but they did improve after the break.

On the hour mark Jason Puncheon volleyed from the edge of the area following a scramble in Latics’ area, but as the ball headed towards the top corner Al Habsi pulled off an outstanding stop to tip over.

Soon afterwards Palace centre back Paddy McCarthy was given way too much room at the back post but fortunately for Wigan Al Habsi comfortably saved his header.

Latics fought back and created chances themselves but the ball wouldn’t quite fall for McManaman on two occasions as Palace managed to block.

But following a Palace corner, substitute Wilbraham scored from inside the Wigan six-yard box only seconds after joining the fray.

Soon afterwards the away team were nearly ahead when substitute Dwight Gayle drew another superb left handed save from Man of the Match Al-Habsi.

Wigan responded and on 78 minutes Espinoza found McClean on the left with just one man to beat.

The winger ran towards goal and evaded a challenge before firing a low drive from the edge of the area which seemed to take a deflection before finding the the bottom corner of the Palace net.

McLean then had a chance to seal the result in stoppage time when he had a one-on-one but his shot was well saved by Speroni.

In added time the Eagles had an appeal for a penalty turned down when the Wigan Captain Emmerson Boyce appeared to pull back Gayle, but a replay would have been hard on the Latics who had been the better team overall.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Aaron Wilbraham, Ben Watson, Crystal Palace, FA Cup, James McClean, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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