Latics love affair with the FA Cup continues, Premier League side Crystal Palace were put to the sword at the DW Stadium, goals from Ben Watson and James McClean sandwiched a prod home from Palace sub Aaron Wilbraham.
Both Uwe Rösler and Tony Pulis fielded very strong sides as they looked to progress through to the next round and it was the Premier League club that started the brightest. Al Habsi pulled off a great save to deny Cameron Jerome after he had been set up by Marouane Chamakh, but it was the Latics who took the lead on 36 minutes.
The ball was worked down the left hand side, Beausejour found Espinoza and the Hondurans first time flick sent James McClean racing clear, he cut back a great cross picking out an inrushing Ben Watson, the former Palace player opened up his body and side footed home in great style from 12 yards, 1-0
The game had a great ebb and flow about it, both sides getting to grips with wet and blustery conditions to produce a highly entertaining game for the spectators, Latics and Palace both had opportunities as the half was drawing to a conclusion, just on the stroke of half time there was a collision between Palace player Jonathan Parr and Callum McManaman, McManaman rose to head clear a high ball and Parr challenged, unfortunately the Palace man fell awkwardly and received lengthy treatment before being carried from the field on a stretcher and in a neck brace, referee Mike Jones played 9 minutes stoppage time at the end of the half as a result of Parr’s unfortunate injury, but the game never got going again as both sets of players looked like they needed their half time cuppas.
The second half saw the Latics on top in the early stages but Palace came back strongly and just like the first half we had an end to end game, James McClean was getting the better of Palace left back Mariappa and created lots of opportunities, whilst over on the right McManaman was causing trouble for Moxey every time he was on the ball. At the other end Al Habsi produced another great save, this time from Jason Puncheon who hit a screamer from teh edge of the Latics box after a corner had been cleared.
Palace made a double substitution on 66 minutes, changing their attacking line up, Jerome and Chamakh off Aaron Wilbraham and Dwight Gayle on, within two minutes Wilbraham had equalised. A corner from the right bobbled in the box, Wilbraham stuck out his foot and toe poked the ball over the line despite Boyce’s attempts to clear, 1-1.
Rosler responded by sending on Marc-Antoine Fortune and Chris Powell for the hard working Nicky Maynard and McManaman, four minutes later the Latics regained the lead.
Fortune picked the ball up in the middle of the park, swivelled and found Espinoza just inside the Palace half, the Hondurans first time pass sent McClean racing clear, he stepped in side, wrong footing his marker and unleashed a drive from just outside the box that flew into the bottom corner, 2-1.
McClean had a chance to seal the game late on, he was through one on one with the Palace keeper Speroni and had an unmarked Nick Powell to his right, instead teh Republic of Ireland international hit a low drive that Speroni parried away.
It mattered not, Latics survived a late penalty appeal after Gayle’s dramatic fall to win the game and go through to the 5th round and remain unbeaten in the FA cup since 7th January 2012.
Latics – Al Habsi, Boyce, Watson, Barnett, Perch, Espinoza, McArthur (McCann80), McManaman (Fortune 74), McClean, Maynard (Powell 74), Beausejour.
Unused subs – Nicholls, Crainey, Gomez, Redmond
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Mariappa, McCarthy, Delaney, Parr (Moxey 45), Puncheon, O’Keefe, Guedioura, Bannan, Chamakh (Gayle 66), Jerome (Wibraham 66).
Unused subs – Price, Campana, Boateng, Williams.
Whelan Receives FA Tribute
Before the game Latics owner Dave Whelan received a 3/4 size replica of the FA cup from the FA
It’s my cup!
By permission of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic