Uwe Rosler showed he is taking the defence of the FA cup seriously by naming a very strong Latics side for the visit of League 1 side MK Dons to the DW Stadium
The Latics started the game brightly and with purpose, closing down the Dons high up the pitch and putting them under increasing pressure, it was only a matter of time before we found the net, when the goal that we were threatening came it was a real beauty, with 18 minutes gone the ball was picked up by Roger Espinoza a full 30 yards out and he hit a superb strike that flew into the far top corner of the bet giving Dons keeper David Martin no chance, 1-0.
Latics continued to press and were playing some lovely football, the corner count was building and Rosler’s men were completely in charge of the game, just after the 25 minute mark Grant Holt held the ball up out wide right, he found Jordi Gomez who worked his way into the MK Dons box and fired hard and low from 8 yards to score at the near post, 2-0
On 35 minutes MK Dons right sided defender Lee Hudson had to leave the field injured and he was replaced by George Baldock who went on to have a major influence on the remainder of the match
The Latics appeared to ease off their pressing game as the first half was coming to a close, but from an MK Dons corner the game could have been put to bed, McManaman broke with the ball, he raced forward down the Latics left, James McClean was in support inside the MK Dons penalty area unmarked, as McManaman tried to find his team mate who would have had a clear strike on goal, a great challenge on the ball from a defender cut out the danger
With the half time stoppage time board being shown to the crowd by the fourth official MK Dons pulled a goal back, Ben Reeves found the ball at his feet 12 yards out and a cool finish into the bottom far corner be Al Habsi all ends up, 2-1
With virtually the last kick of the half Reeves was on hand to fire home from a cross from the right, 2-2
Latics looked a little shell shocked as they left the pitch for their half-time cuppa and ear bashing from Rosler, 2-0 up with 45 minutes on the clock and seemingly in total control to all square in a matter of a minute
The second half saw MK Dons play with a lot more purpose and they looked a decent side, passing the ball well and working their triangles they started top put the Latics on the back foot, George Baldock was having a very good game marauding down the right from his wing back position and also defending excellently when required, on one foray into the Latics box he checked his run and was caught by James McClean who was tracking back, the ref immediately blew for a penalty
Shaun Williams took the kick, hitting the ball to Al Habsi’s right, but the Oman international managed to get two good hands on the ball and push it away to keep the game all square
Within three minutes the Latics were in front, Espinoza played a right footed ball over the MK Dons defensive line and Callum McManaman was onto it in a flash, he surged into the area and hit the ball past the advancing Martin to give the Latics the lead with 25 minutes remaining, 3-2
Marc-Antoine Fortune was put through and had the chance to wrap the game up with 10 minutes left, but Fortune fired across the goal and wide of the far post, Latics were made to pay four minutes later, from a MK Dons corner Latics struggled to clear and Patrick Bamford hit a first time effort on the loose ball from six yards through the crowded box into the far corner, 3-3
A highly entertaining game, six goals, a saved penalty, end to end football, a great advert for the FA cup and decent priced match tickets too
Latics – Al Habsi, Boyce (c), Perch, Barnett, Espinoza, McArthur, Gomez (McCann 45), McManaman, Holt (Fortune 59), McClean (Dicko 75), Beausejour.
Unused subs – Pollitt, Fyvie, Redmond, Crainey.
MK Dons – Martin, Lewington (c), Hodson (Baldock35), Williams, Gleeson, Potter, Reeves, Alli, Bamford, Carruthers, Kay
Unused subs – McLoughlin, Flanagan, Chadwick, Smith, Powell, Galloway.