- Thelo Aasgaard’s stunning late strike helped Wigan Athletic knock Championship side Blackburn Rovers out of the FA Cup at the DW Stadium.
- Rovers took the lead through Reda Khadra’s low strike but Wigan levelled when Max Power fired in from 30 yards.
- The hosts went ahead when Aynsley Pears carried the ball over his own goal line after Jack Whatmough had headed across goal.
- Daniel Ayala’s header levelled in the 89th minute but substitute Thelo Aasgaard curled home from the edge of the area in the 94th minute to send Latics through to the 4th Round.
Leam Richardson made three changes from Latics’ 6-0 triumph at Oldham Athletic in the Papa John’s Trophy in midweek. Jamie Jones, Jason Kerr and Kell Watts replaced Ben Amos, Curtis Tilt and Gavin Massey in the starting eleven.
Rovers started brightly and had an early chance when John Buckley raced through on goal, but Jones anticipated the danger and kicked the ball away.
However his clearance only landed as far as Lewis Travis who tried his luck from distance but his optimistic effort floated wide.
Latics came close at the other end in the fifth minute when Tom Pearce’s dangerous cross from the left was met by Will Keane, but he glanced his header over the crossbar.
The visitors then had a couple of chances in quick succession. First, Gallagher had shot from a tight angle but his effort was comfortably saved by Jones, before in form striker Brereton Diaz found space on the edge of the area and curled an effort just over.
Jones came to Latics rescue in the 14th minute when Buckley intercepted a loose ball and advanced through on goal, but the Latics keeper made an excellent save low down at his near post.
Brereton Diaz then had the ball in the back of the net for the visitors, but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.
Latics defence was giving the ball away far too easily as they tried to play out from the back and it nearly proved costly when another loose pass out of the defence allowed Brereton Diaz a free hit from the edge of the area but Jones did excellently to tip the ball behind for a corner.
All level at half time but Latics would have to improve considerably if they were to progress through to the next round.
The half started badly for the hosts, as the defence backed off in the 49th minute Khadra fired low into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Latics needed to up their game now and they got a foothold in the 61st minute from Power’s superb 30-yard strike which bounced just in front of Rovers keeper Pears.
Richardson’s side were energised now and from substitute James McClean’s corner Kerr’s header at the far post clipped the top crossbar from close range.
Latics then went in front following a major error by the Rovers keeper.
Power’s free-kick was headed back across goal by Whatmough but the hapless Pears only managed to carry the ball over his own goal line. Pears had struggled with crosses all afternoon but this was particularly poor work.
A disaster for the visitors but the hosts nearly added a third when substitute Gavin Massey pulled the ball back to Lang who fired his effort over from inside the area in the 81st minute.
Latics now had one foot in the fourth round, but with only one minute of normal time remaining Rovers were awarded a free-kick and Ayala equalised despite Latics’ appeals for offside.
The tie now looked destined for extra time, but with 94 minutes on the clock substitute Aasgaard produced a match winning strike.
The Latics Academy graduate curled a stunning effort over the goalkeeper and into the top right corner from the left hand side to send the home crowd into raptures. It was a glorious end to an exhilarating FA Cup tie.
Latics will now be hoping for a home draw against Premier League opposition and the prospect of pulling off another FA Cup shock.
The FA Cup 4th Round Draw will take place on Sunday after the West Ham v Leeds game, which kicks off at 14:00.
Speaking to the media afterwards Latics manager Leam Richardson said he was delighted to progress to the 4th Round of the FA Cup.
“It was a local Derby in the FA Cup (that had everything) with goals, mistakes and a battle hardened performance,” he said.
“I’ve got to give credit to the lads. We adapted certain things and respected Blackburn thoroughly because they are going really well in the league and they have some good players around the pitch.
“I thought in the first half they were excellent and in the second half, we imposed ourselves a little bit more as well.
“We had to dig in at times. They’ve got some fantastic players and lads who are doing really well in the Championship, touching the Premier League door. Tony (Mowbray) has been there a long time and I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a manager and a person.
“I’ve got to give credit to Thelo, he came on and scored a winner for the Football Club to put us in the next round. It’s what you dream of as a boy and people will ask did he mean it, but I watch him practice daily and I guarantee that he’s definitely meant it.
“He’s done the kid, dropped his shoulder to come inside and you can see with his actions that he went for the goal. Fair credit to him, and he’s put his team and the Club to the next round.”