Lee Evans produced an extra special strike to fire Wigan Athletic past Crawley Town and into the Second Round of the FA Cup.
Crawley had taken a surprise lead on 20 minutes when Jordan Roberts produced a superb piece of skill to first control the ball and then volley over his shoulder and into the corner of the net.
Latics were stunned into action and midfielder Evans made great strides down the left hand side beating two defenders before crossing for Ivan Toney to acrobatically finish from close range on 29 minutes.
Latics dominated possession throughout and might have gone ahead when Nick Powell outwitted the Crawley defence but he clipped his effort narrowly wide of the far post.
Crawley defended resolutely however, and it took an exceptional 30-yard strike from Evans’ left boot to ultimately overcome their League Two opponents.
Paul Cook surprisingly made five changes from the team which had drawn with Blackburn Rovers with Matija Sarkic, Reece James, Alex Bruce, Gary Roberts and Evans coming into the team.
Latics had plenty of possession in the early exchanges, but possibly due to the team changes, lacked a fluidity and cutting edge.
However, it came as something of a surprise when Crawley went ahead on 20 minutes.
Roberts first chesting the ball on the edge of the area and then producing a superb volley into the top corner of Sarkic’s net.
But Latics were quick to respond and nine minutes later Evans did well to jink the ball past three defenders before crossing for Toney to acrobatically volley home.
Powell might have given Latics the lead before the interval but despite outwitting the Crawley backline his final effort went narrowly wide of the far post.
Early in the second half Toney had a great opportunity from eight yards-out, but despite wrong-footing a couple of defenders, he fired his shot against the crossbar.
But with 20 minutes remaining Evans’s produced a stunning goal. The Welsh international surprisingly switching the ball to his unfamiliar left foot before unleashing an unstoppable strike from 30-yards.
Latics might have increased their lead before full time with chances for substitutes David Perkins and Will Grigg, but credit should be given to Crawley for some resolute defending.
Latics deservedly progress into the 2nd round and they will be hoping for favourable opponents in Monday night’s draw.