A tactical master class against Everton saw a period of three minutes send Latics to their first ever FA Cup semi-final.
QUARTER FINAL – March 09 2013, Goodison Park.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 3
Free-flowing forward ferocity created Wigan Athletic history at Goodison Park as three goals in three first half minutes secured the club’s first ever FA Cup semi-final appearance.
Maynor Figueroa’s 30th minute header got the ball rolling before Callum McManaman netted against his boyhood club 60 seconds later, with Jordi Gomez making it 3-0 as he stroked the ball in three minutes after the opening goal.
Latics saw off the memories of 23 years ago when the two sides met for the only previous time in the competition in the fourth round in 1980, a game which saw 2013’s score line reversed in the Toffees’ favour.
The joy of Latics’ 10th trip to Goodison almost unravelled much earlier in the game and on 11 minutes Everton had their first scare.
McManaman’s first order of the day was to surge his team up the pitch as he spread the ball wide for Shaun Maloney on the left.
Latics were making movements in numbers but Maloney needed no back up as he ran at full back Seamus Coleman, jinked inside to skip a challenge from Steven Pienaar before curling his right footed effort around Everto goalkeeper Jan Mucha, only to see his effort cannon back off the post.
The pace of the attack was a common theme for Latics throughout the afternoon but despite the impressive offense, Spanish stopper Joel Robles had to keep concentrated as he pushed away a low Nikica Jelavic drive in the 19th minute.
Just ten minutes later Latics’ magic moments kicked in.
James McCarthy’s snap-shot from the edge of the area was tipped away for a corner kick by Mucha giving Jordi Gomez the chance to pick out Figueroa (pictured) who out-jumped the Everton defence to bury a header and bulge the net.
The 2,000 plus travelling supporters went wild, but probably didn’t realise that their elation would only grow.
Everton restarted, attacked and crumbled all within the space of 30 seconds.
Figueroa’s defensive clearance was one by John Heitinga in the air with Arouna Kone but his knock down to Phil Neville turned sour as the Everton captain’s attempted back pass to Sylvain Distin was intercepted by McManaman.
Sprinting towards the Park End Stand McManaman had only one thing in his mind as he beat Distin for pace and looped a stunning composed finish over Mucha to double Latics’ lead.
McManaman’s passionate celebrations (pictured) indicated just how much it meant to the former Gwladys Street End season ticket holder as he raced away with his hand cupped to his ear.
Surely things couldn’t any better for Latics? Well we all know they did and it was arguably the pick of all three goals that made it 3-0.
Maloney and goal scorer Gomez interchanged inside their own half before the Scottish play maker released Kone down the left wing.
With Coleman back-tracking Kone spotted a chance to cut back and slid his pass to the edge of the area where arriving late was Gomez (pictured) to round off a swift and stylish move as he curled the ball around the body of Leon Osman and into the bottom corner of Mucha’s goal.
“We want four” cried Latics’ supporters in Goodison’s Paddock and Lower Bullens and they almost got it a minute before half time when a dipping free kick from Maloney was clawed away from the top corner of the net by Mucha.
If the first half was a lesson in attacking then the second wasn’t a bad lecture in defending as Latics’ back three of Antolin Alcaraz, Paul Scharner and Figueroa held firm to deny the firepower of Kevin Mirallas, Victor Anichebe and Nikica Jelavic.
Everton did manage to put the ball in the net but a clever step up from Latics’ defence made Mirallas offside as he ran through and slotted the ball beyond Robles.
The Toffees’ best chance of the game could only be mustered in the first minute of second half stoppage time when Osman’s close range effort at the back post was parried away by Robles (pictured celebrating at full time), from which Coleman headed wide when it was probably easier to score.
Jubilation battled with boos and jeers as Everton supporters showed their displeasure, but the day was all about Latics as the players walked over to their hordes of supporters to join in the celebrations at booking a place in the FA Cup semi-final and Latics’ first trip to the new Wembley Stadium.
Everton: Mucha, Baines, Heitinga, Jelavic, Mirallas (Barkley 67), Distin, Neville (Anichebe 46), Osman, Pienaar, Coleman,Fellaini (Gibson 67)
Latics: Robles, Kone, Alcaraz (Golobart 90), McCarthy, Maloney, Gomez, McManaman (Miyaichi 40(McArthur 72), Boyce, Beausejour, Figueroa, Scharner
“We haven’t done anything yet, going to Wembley is fantastic for everyone but we still have to see out our aims.
“Getting to the semi-final will just make everyone hungry to get all the way to the final.”
“The speed of the three goals was unexpected and brilliant.
“Once the second and third goals went in we knew that we needed to make sure it was at least 3-0 going into half time because Everton were always going to try hard in the second half.”
“Everyone deserves huge credit for today’s achievement but it was the fans who laid the foundations for it to happen.
“I’m proud of them because I know how much it meant to get to Wembley and enjoy some cup success.
“I hope they in turn are proud of their club.”
“It was brilliant to see what the team achieved.
“Pride is definitely a word I would use to describe my feelings and so is history because that is what we have and can still achieve.”