- Wigan Athletic progressed into the FA Cup Third Round with hard-fought 2-1 victory at Colchester United.
- Callum Lang opened the scoring after good work by Gavin Massey in the 24th minute but the hosts drew level on the stroke of half time when Freddie Sears fired home via the post.
- Will Keane wasted a good opportunity to restore the visitors lead before Lang produced a deserved winner in the 75th minute.
Leam Richardson made six changes from the side which defeated Accrington Stanley on penalties in the Papa John’s Trophy with Jack Whatmough, Tom Pearce, Max Power, Callum Lang, Will Keane and Jordan Cousins all coming back into the starting eleven.
Latics started confidently and moved the ball to good effect but it was the League Two outfit who had the first two chances.
First, Noah Chilvers blazed over from the edge of the area and then Sears should’ve done better but his effort flew over the crossbar from 12-yards out.
But Latics were the first to make the breakthrough in the 24th minute with a flowing counter attack.
Power found Gavin Massey down the right with a pinpoint pass, and the wingback delivered a superb cross to the back post and Lang finished well from close-range.
The U’s responded well and Cameron Coxe was through on goal but Kell Watts made a superb last-ditch tackle to deny an equaliser.
At the other end, Latics had a huge chance when Lang sent Keane through on goal but the former Manchester United youth striker couldn’t beat keeper Jake Turner who saved well with his leg.
It was end-to-end now and Latics keeper Jamie Jones made an outstanding save to deny Sylvester Jasper and tip the ball over the crossbar.
But frustratingly for Latics and Jones the hosts drew level two minutes later when Sears fired into the corner from the edge of the area.
Early in the second half Colchester went close when Chilvers volley went just over the angle of post and crossbar.
Latics responded and Massey fired an effort just over the crossbar.
Massey and Lang then combined well down the right and Lang’s back-heel found Massey but he drove his effort narrowly wide.
Latics pushed for what proved to be the decisive goal in the 75th minute.
Substitute Tom Naylor played an excellent through ball to Lang, who showed great composure and finished with some aplomb into the bottom corner.
The hosts continued to battle to get back on level terms and they wasted a great opportunity in the 89th minute when Sears set up substitute Chay Cooper but he blazed his effort high over the crossbar from a great position.
As in the previous FA Cup game at Solihull Latics didn’t manage the final minutes very well. Colchester goalkeeper Turner headed over from good positions from two corners in the dying moments but Latics held on to progress to the third round.
Great credit must go to the 179 hardy travelling Latics supporters who made the long journey to Essex for a 12.30 kick off on a Sunday.
Richardson commented afterwards:
“No matter what tie it is – you saw the results yesterday going different ways – and the main thing is that we found a way to win and we’re in the hat,” he said.
“It’s 12:30pm on a Sunday in December and it was never going to be easy. Fair credit to the players who found a way to win and get to the next round.
“They (Colchester) have some good players and good coaching staff. You’ve got to be respectful and meet those challenges, and I thought we did in large parts.”