All the talk before the match was how many goals it was going to be. Not because both sides are great attacking teams and everyone was hoping for a lovely flowing open game, but because Wigan were such rank outsiders that everyone, even a man and his dog were expecting City to steam roll past the Latics.
The City team was full strength even Joe Hart was in goal, as City took this seriously hoping to get some silverware for the third year in a row. The Wigan team on the other hand had a few changes from the midweek game. Out came Gary Caldwell and Ben Watson and in came Jordi Gomez and Antolin Alcaraz; both of which were good moves.
The start though was all about Man City. From the kick off they were sharper, well more quicker than a Wigan side who were happy to sit tight and let the Manchester club have the ball 30-yards from goal. The plan was lets keep tight and compact and make them come at us. The quick counter would be our best shot.
Joel was making his first save five minutes in, a free-kick about 25 yards out taken by Carlos Tevez hit the wall. The rebound going to the feet of Yaya Toure whose shot was saved by Joel. A wake up call and Wigan the started to bounce a bit more forward we wanted to win the 50-50's and it showed.
It wasn't long before we carved out a great chance of our own though. Shaun Maloney passing the ball off to Callum McManaman, the winger went past Gael Clichy with ease before laying the ball off to Arouna Kone. Kone the turned and played the ball back to Callum. Callum through on goal turned onto his left and tried to curl the ball into the far corner. It was only inches wide.
City were probing hard at the Wigan goal, trying to sip the ball through or beat their man. None was having any luck though. The Wigan defence with the return of Antolin Alacaraz was looking so much stronger. If one of the back three closed a player down, the other two came tight and closed the gap. Brilliant tactical awareness.
We couldn't stop Tevez from nearly scoring. The toe of Joel dennying him. Samir Nasir slipped in David Silva who then found Tevez. The Argentinian hit the ball back across goal, and Joel stuck out a foot to send the ball high and over the goal, a let off for Wigan!
Then it was City to have the let off next. Alcaraz feeding Callum down the Wigan left. The young winger got past the last line of the Manchester City defence, with Hart to beat. Turning back Callum put hart on the floor before turning back again to put two City defenders down who had recovered, as he shot a great block from Vincent Kompany denied the winger his third consecutive FA Cup goal.
There was still time for one more chance in the half; this time it fell to City. Nasri again finding space tried to cut the ball back across the goal after bursting to the byline, David Silva got a head to it, but the ball spun well wide of the goal, in the end Roger Espinoza kept it in play.
0-0 at half time and what a game. Wigan were out playing City. Our passing was sharper, our touch was nicer and our chances were more clear cut. The only problem was that we hadn't scored yet; could we find away through?
Roll on the second half, and a similar pattern to the first emerged. Again City started more brightly, but again Wigan were compact and kept to their tactics. There were no silly mistakes, and if there was an error someone else came in to help their man out, great team play.
Tevez managed to work a good early chance though. The striker beating Paul Scharner for pace, put the ball across the face of the goal, and Sergio Aguero bounded to get on the end of it. However Emmerson Boyce was on the scene to deny the Argentinian pair the goal.
Roberto Mancini the first one to break his poker face and make a change. James Milner coming on for Samir Nasri. Defensive change? The City manager obviously feeling that it was time to look at winning the midfield battle that so far they had yet to have a say in.
But it was Wigan who grew more into the game. Some lovely into locking passing saw Jordi Gomez have his best sight of goal. Instead of hitting the ball first time, the midfielder controlled it, then tried to hit it under pressure. Instead the shot went well over.
The other joy for Wigan was coming through Callum McManaman. The winger was strolling past half the City team, and nearly managed to break the deadlock himself. Beating Silva, Callum was shooting just as Kompany came sliding across to make a last ditch tackle/block to deny the player.
Much better from Wigan and in the last ten minutes it got even better. Gareth Barry with a sloppy pass, saw Arouna Kone latch onto it. A quick pass to McManaman saw him burst through on goal, yet Pablo Zabeleta came charging across and in a committed sliding tackle took all of the man and none of the ball. A yellow card would follow the second of the afternoon for the defender which saw him walk off down the tunnel.
Could we make the extra man count?
Not to begin with the free-kick was squander and then we sat camped in the City half for the next six minutes or so. But a slipped through ball to Callum yet again saw him break into the City box. Clichy challenging him, and down went our man, but corner only said the referee. It was a hard one to call, looking at replays they suggest it was a good call by Mr Marriner.
So a corner, the last minute of normal time. Shaun Maloney to take. Just whip a good one in Shaun please. We all begged him to. His run up slow and concise saw a lovely out swinging cross whipped in, then a flash of ginger hair, as Ben Watson (on for Jordi Gomez) beat the City players to the near post for a glancing header, he watched amazed as all of us as it hit the back of the net.
1-0 to Wigan Athletic!!!!!
Absolute euphoria as the travelling Wiganers erupted it a mass exudes of noise and jubilation. We had three minutes to hold on now. Three minutes to keep our walls up and our minds focused. City throwing the ball forward looking to find a flick on, or a half a chance, anything to get the equilizer.
Up went our three center back, Scharner, Boyce and Alcaraz trying to get anything on the ball to get it away from teh Wigan 18 yard box. They did it. Referee Andrew Marriner blew his whistle and for the first time in our 81 year old history Wigan Athletic have a major piece of silverware.
Savor this moment!