National League North Chorley pulled off an FA Cup first round shock when they defeated League One Wigan Athletic 3-2 after extra time at the DW Stadium.
Latics had dominated the first half and led 2-0 with goals from Joe Garner and Tom James but when defender Adam Long was given a straight red card the game turned completely on its head.
The Magpies reduced the deficit just after half time when Elliott Newby rifled home after Latics’ defence failed to clear and the hosts fragile confidence was further exposed on 60 minutes when a mistake by Tom Pearce allowed Harry Cardwell to race clear before executing a neat finish.
2-2 at the end of normal time but the excellent part-timers deservedly grabbed the winner in extra time when Latics’ defence once again failed to deal with the Magpies attacking threat and Connor Hall was on hand to send Chorley through to the second round.
John Sheridan made two changes from the team that narrowly lost at Blackpool with Owen Evans replacing Jamie Jones in goal and Gavin Massey coming into midfield for the ineligible Matty Palmer.
Sixth tier Chorley are currently bottom of the National League North and Latics dominated the early stages with Dan Gardner heading into the side-netting on eight minutes before Joe Garner put the hosts ahead on 19 minutes.
Gardner’s shot was deflected into the path of the Latics captain who finished well from close range.
Garner might have added to the hosts lead on 29 minutes when Pearce’s excellent cross found him unmarked inside the box but his header just cleared the crossbar.
Latics doubled their lead on 34 minutes when James produced a top quality finish from the corner of the penalty box.
The Hibernian loanee looked to be about to cross with his right foot but instead turned inside onto his left foot and curled the ball into the top left corner of the net.
Latics appeared to be in control, dominating possession and creating chances but the Magpies allows looked dangerous on the break and Hall forced a good save from Evans on 38 minutes.
The match turned in Chorley’s favour on 40 minutes when Long was given a straight red card after he brought down Cardwell after Latics’ nervy defence had hesitated.
2-0 at half time and Sheridan will have instructed his players not to give the visitors an early lifeline in the second half but that’s just what they did.
Latics defence failed to clear a high ball into the box and when the ball fell to Newby he made no mistake from close range.
The hosts fragile confidence was visibly shattered and the Magpies now realised they could go on to win the game.
The visitors were being given far too much space in midfield and forced a succession of corners as Latics retreated into defence.
Birch produced an excellent long range effort which Evans did well to tip over the crossbar.
The visitors then had an effort cleared off the line as they pressed for the equaliser but it came soon when Pearce’s misplaced pass set up Cardwell who raced clear before slotting the ball past Evans.
Latics looked in complete disarray and the visitors were in the ascendancy. The part-timers looked more determined and were winning many of the 50/50 challenges.
Hall missed a great chance for the visitors on 72 minutes and at the other end Garner had a strike headed off the line for the hosts.
As the game ticked towards the end of normal time substitute Crankshaw got to the byeline and crossed for Garner but the striker couldn’t get his shot on target and match moved into extra time.
Extra time started disastrously for Latics as Emeka Obi failed to clear and Hall was on hand to finish from a tight angle.
Latics best chance in extra time fell to Garner when he chested down James’ excellent cross before firing just wide of the target but in truth ten-man Latics had been second best since Long’s dismissal.
Sheridan’s team has been stretched to the limits due to administration and injuries, but it looked as though they had the tie under control until the sending off.
It is a hard learning curve for Latics’ young players but they must learn quickly and stop shooting themselves in the foot with silly mistakes.
Congratulations to Chorley who deservedly progressed to the second round but Latics’ miserable year just goes from bad to worse.