Wigan Athletic vs. Crystal Palace
Date: Saturday 25th January 2014
Venue: The DW Stadium
Referee: Michael Jones
The only Premier League scalp of the weekend saw the holders Wigan Athletic make it ten games unbeaten in the F.A. Cup to progress through to the fifth round as they beat relegation threatened Crystal Palace.
It was last season’s F.A Cup hero, Ben Watson who opened the scoring at the DW Stadium with a superbly placed shot from twelve yards.
With just over twenty minutes to go, Palace equalised against the run of play as Aaron Wilbraham managed to push the ball over the line after a scramble in the box.
However, it was the Championship side who were to come through the game as victors and it was James McClean who put them 2-1 ahead to score his first goal in twelve months. A low shot from fifteen yards eluded goalkeeper, Julian Speroni to see the Latics into the fifth round.
Unusual for Uwe Rosler’s Wigan, they started slowly and looked a little bit shaky at the back. Ben Watson was unnecessarily slowing the game down by passing back towards goal whenever he was given the chance and James Perch was caught out a couple of times as he wandered too far up the field.
Wigan grew into the game, however, and it was difficult to see Crystal Palace as a Premier League side as they offered very little and looked rather sloppy in possession.
Callum McManaman was at the heart of Wigan’s dangerous play in the first half and he troubled Palace greatly down the right side. But it was on the other side of the pitch from which the Latics’ first goal came.
Roger Espinoza’s flick made its way to McClean on the left side of the field, who then picked out an unmarked Watson in the centre of the box. Watson placed the ball accurately past Speroni to make the score 1-0.
After the break, Palace improved and it took a couple of stunning saves from Ali Al-Habsi to keep the score-line at 1-0.
Wigan were not without chances to put the game beyond the Eagles though as James McArthur saw a shot blocked before McManaman sliced a shot just wide of the goal.
The Latics were punished for not being clinical enough in front of goal as a corner was not cleared and Wilbraham scored past the flailing Al-Habsi and Emmerson Boyce on the line.
After this Palace goal, the game became more open and there were chances for both sides before McClean scored Wigan’s second goal. Again, Espinoza passed to McClean who drove into the box and shot from fifteen yards to fire the Latics into the fifth round of the F.A. Cup.
Dwight Gayle had a decent shout for a penalty as he was brought down by the arm of Boyce before Wigan squandered a chance to make the score 3-1 as McClean failed to score when he was one on one with Speroni.
Wigan will enjoy an away tie at Cardiff City in the next round which they will surely be looking to win.