10-men Accrington hold on as Latics exit the LFA Cup.
- Latics beaten 2-0 at Robin Park by Accrington Stanley.
- The visitors held onto early lead with 10 men, doubling it late on.
- Accrington through to play Everton in the LFA Cup Semi-Final.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2
It was a game of few clear cut chances, but plenty of incidents at Robin Park Arena, as Latics were edged out of the Lancashire FA Cup at the quarter finals, losing 2-0 to 10-man Accrington Stanley, after the visitors had a man sent off for violent conduct on the stroke of half time.
Latics fell behind to their visitors inside the opening 10 minutes when Keelan Steenson finished from close range, but they battled hard to try and recover a crucial equaliser throughout. It was made even more difficult when Accrington lost Andrew Procter just before half time, the experienced midfielder dismissed for violent conduct after reacting to a foul from Luke Burke.
Accrington defended deep for the second half, limiting clear chances for Latics, who were subsequently hit with a sucker punch late on when substitute Marcus Carver headed in a Gerardo Bruna free kick in the 88th minute.
Latics welcomed back Reece McNally into the starting line-up, the defender recovering from injury after being sidelined since the first team pre-season friendly against Altrincham. The starting XI also featured five Under 18 squad members; Arnie Baxendale, Alex Lingard, Luke Burke, Josh Gregory, and first year apprentice Luke Burgess, who was making his Development Squad debut.
It was a scrappy start to proceedings on a cold winter afternoon, with the ball bobbling and players on both sides losing their footing in the early stages.
Accrington took the lead inside the 10th minute, former Latics defender Adam Buxton's pass finding the fleet-footed Shay McCartan down the left wing, he cross finding Steenson in the area for a first time finish into Owen Evans' bottom right hand corner.
The visitors rarely threatened after their goal, but they reduced Latics' chances to efforts from distance, Gregory shooting over on the half an hour mark, before Louis Robles had a low effort denied by Ross Etheridge.
Burgess came close to a dream debut when his unorthodox effort with the outside of his right foot flew a yard or so over the top left corner. This coming just moments before Robles was sent tumbling in the penalty area by Keenan Quansah, only for the referee to wave play on, despite the challenge coming from behind.
It was a physical game with plenty of free kicks, but the competitive nature became all too serious moments before the half time whistle. Accrington were awarded a free kick for a foul by Matty Hamilton on Procter, but Burke had already committed himself to a sliding challenge on the midfielder as the referee blew his whistle.
Procter didn't take kindly to the late arrival of the youngster, with the 32-year-old reacting poorly to the challenge, before being brandished a straight red card. Burke was booked for his part.
Five minutes into the second half the referee showed another yellow card, this time to Accrington's Stuart Callaway, who caught Gregory on the ankle in the centre circle. Gregory's game was over due to injury, handing his replacement, 17-year-old Josh Beaumont, his Development Squad debut.
Latics controlled possession throughout the second half, but found it difficult to break down the visitors' stubborn defence, that was until substitute Chris Sang, making his debut, turned Lingard's cross inches over the top right corner with six minutes remaining.
As Latics pushed to try and send the contest to penalties, they were hit on the counter attack and forced to defend a late free kick, only for Bruna's delivery to find substitute Carver for a close range header.
Beaumont almost responded immediately with two minutes, plus four minutes added time remaining, when his effort from 12 yards was deflected agonisingly past the right post, the final chance of the match.
Latics: Evans, Baxendale, Lingard, Burke, Langford (Stubbs 64), McNally, Purzycki, Gregory (Beaumont 50), Robles, Hamilton (Capt) (Sang 75), Burgess
Unused Subs: Taylor, Randell
Accrington: Etheridge, Wakefield, Buxton, Goulding, Quansah, Procter, McCartan, Steenson (Carver 61), Callaway, Gornell (Gunner 73), Bruna
Unused Subs: Little, Hazeldine, Morgan