On loan Manchester United midfielder Nick Powell stepped off the bench last night to score a brace of goals and prevent the very real danger of Wigan’s defence of the F.A.cup falling at the first hurdle.
Wigan made four changes from the side that comprehensively defeated Bournemouth at the weekend with starts for Espinoza, Fyvie, McClean and Crainey. There was also a change in formation with a central back three of Barnett, McCann and Watson,with the latter also wearing the captain’s armband.
Wigan looked uncomfortable from the off playing with a pseudo 3-2-3-2 line up and an MK Dons side playing with confidence and no little skill following their three all draw at the DW stadium pushed forwards searching for an early breakthrough which came in the tenth minute when ex Manchester United player Luke Chadwick slotted home past Al Habsi following good work by Carruthers.
This stung Wigan into action and with Espinoza leading the charge first Fyvie and then Espinoza himself tested Martin in the home goal.
From then on the first half was an end to end affair with MK Dons looking to increase their lead, which they nearly did on a couple of occasions , testing man of the match Al Habsi’s shot stopping skills to the limit and when the big Omani was finally beaten,the post saved Wigan from going in at half time two nil down.
The second half continued in very much the same vein of attack and counter attack but in a game played on a very wet pitch under heavy rain , quality football was at a premium with Wigan failing to create any real cut chances.
The game turned on a double substitution with Powell and Boyce replacing Fyvie and Perch. Wigan suddenly seemed to play with more purpose and structure but the cup holders nearly fell further behind when a shot from dangerman Williams took a deflection and hit the post.
Wigan immediatley went up the other end of the pitch and scored when Powell was in the right place at the right time to have a simple tap in from good work by McCann.
Both sides looked for a winner in normal time but the full time whistle brought the ordeal of half an hours extra time and a late arrival home for the hard 300ish Wigan fans who had made the trip south.
Within a minute of the restart it was all made worthwhile, when that man Powell again showed his burgeoning credentials as Wigan’s key goalscorer by beating the MK offside trap and sprinting away before producing an audacious chip to beat Martin to give Wigan the lead.
MK Dons tried to claw their way back into the game but Wigan’s defence held firm and there was still time for a second goal in two games for Fortune and a whopper of a miss from Gomez before the full time whistle was blown and Wigan were travelling home looking forwards to testing themselves agaisnt Premier League opposition in Crystal Palace at the DW stadium a week on Saturday.
Team Line up
Barnett, Watson McCann
Perch ( Boyce ), Crainey
McArthur, Fyvie, Espinoza,
McClean,( Gomez ) Fortune
Man of the Match….Al Habsi, kept Wigan in the game
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