Latics bow out of the Capital One Cup after disappointing defeat at Burton Albion.
- Latics exit Capital One Cup at Burton.
- Fortune opens scoring in first half.
- Knowles and Beavon turn it around for Brewers.
BURTON ALBION 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Two goals either side of the break by a combative Burton Albion undid all the good work for Latics who led through Marc Antoine Fortune’s sharp first half finish but were punished for not making the most of their opportunities in front of goal in a real gritty cup tie.
Disappointment for Latics, and although this competition was never going to be a priority for the team this season, Uwe Rosler said before the game he would pick a team he thought would be capable of winning the tie and was looking to progress as far as he could.
With an eye on two long Sky Bet Championship trips in quick succession in the next seven days, Rosler made ten changes from the line-up against Reading, with Martyn Waghorn the sole survivor from that game. Nevertheless, the starting eleven still had an experienced feel to it.
It was on the bench that some of the names were less familiar, aside from Lee Nicholls, Gary Caldwell and a first appearance for Grant Holt in a competitive Latics match since last January’s FA Cup 3rd Round match at home to MK Dons. Tim Chow and Ryan Jennings’ efforts in pre-season were rewarded with a place on the bench, while Development Squad players Declan Poole and Jordan Flores were also included in a first team squad – as it turned out, only Holt was used.
Burton were quickest out of the blocks and really took the game to Latics, peppering the goal with a few attempts in quick succession. Ali Al Habsi was only called upon to save a shot from distance by Adam McGurk after a knock-down by Stuart Beavon.
It took Latics until the quarter of an hour to mount any sort of attack on the Brewers’ goal, which came when a neat interchange between Roger Espinoza and Fortune sent Aaron Taylor-Sinclair down the left on his debut for the club and his dangerous low cross was scrambled away by a great last ditch tackle by Burton skipper Ian Sharps inside his own six yard box.
Fraser Fyvie had a tremendous opportunity from outside the box but struck wide and it was Fortune who led by example when he seized upon a loose ball inside the box a couple of minutes later, and turned sharply to strike low on the angle past Jon McLaughlin in the Burton goal. A great, clinical finish.
The goal seemed to breathe new life into Latics, who stepped up a gear with Martyn Waghorn and James Tavernier putting in dangerous looking crosses, before a lofted Tavernier cross found Leon Barnett in the box but his header floated wide.
The move of the half on 40 minutes should have seen Latics double their lead, Maloney’s magic created an opening down the right for Waghorn, the ball eventually found itself on the left with Taylor-Sinclair, whose cross was almost turned in by Waghorn on the penalty spot, McLaughlin catching the ball at the second attempt.
Instead it was Burton celebrating an equaliser on the stroke of half-time, Dominic Knowles turning the ball in from close range after Beavon had created the opening down the Burton left and Latics failed to clear quickly enough.
Latics could have regained the lead within three minutes of the restart, Fortune finding space on the right and fizzing in a great cross that Waghorn connected with but McLaughlin got down to parry for a corner.
Once again, though, Latics were caught on the break, Lucas Aikins was given too much time to cross from the right and the ball fell kindly for Beavon, the player on loan from Preston firing home to Al Habsi’s left from just inside the area with a neat finish. Latics breathed a sigh of relief when the striker who made the first and scored the second went off shortly afterwards.
Now was the critical moment of the match, how would Latics react to Burton’s head of steam? With Rosler mixing his trademark steely stare with a range of instructions and gesticulation, Holt was introduced on the hour mark in place of Maloney, immediately taking up a position alongside Fortune in a two-pronged attack.
Waghorn immediately set up Espinoza on the break, but his effort was deflected for a corner, then Fyvie tried his luck from long range, this time on target but it was well saved. Taylor-Sinclair’s through ball then just failed to find Waghorn.
Fortune came close with a quarter of an hour left, turning sharply again in the box but this time the ball trickled agonisingly in front of goal with no one close enough to tap it in. A good flick from Holt was just inches too long for Waghorn.
The final ten minutes saw Burton camped out in their own half, content to soak up the pressure. Latics pumped the ball forwards and Burton defending doggedly. Fortune turned and crossed, only to see former Latics young professional Phil Edwards clear the danger – it was to be the last real opportunity and Latics were left to think of what might have been.
Burton Albion: McLaughlin, Edwards, Cansdell-Sherriff, Mousinho, Taft, Sharps, Weir, Beavon (Kee 58), McGurk (Knowles 38), Akins, MacDonald
Unused Subs: Lyness, Slade, Palmer, McFadzean, Harness
Wigan Athletic: Al Habsi, Tavernier, Ramis, Barnett, Taylor-Sinclair, Fyvie, Rogne, Espinoza, Maloney (Capt) (Holt 60), Waghorn, Fortune
Unused Subs: Nicholls, Caldwell, Chow, Jennings, Poole, Flores