The FA Cup Final
11 May 2013 - 5:15 PM
The magic of The FA Cup saved its final upset of the season for the biggest stage as Wigan Athletic made history at Wembley.
Roberto Martinez’s team were deserved winners in their first ever Cup Final, after more than matching overwhelming pre-match favourites Manchester City.
The odds were stacked against the Lancashire outfit, currently fighting against relegation from the Premier League, but a strong team performance inspired by man-of-the-match Callum McManaman proved enough to topple City.
And the scenes of celebrations at Wembley were unrivalled in the rain as Martinez and his players came to terms with causing what is arguably the biggest Cup Final upset since Everton’s victory over Manchester United in 1995.
There could be no complaints from City either, as they misfired throughout the 90 minutes and saw Wigan enjoy the better of the chances if not the possession.
City had started the game firmly on the front foot and Yaya Toure forced Joel Robles into an early save within four minutes when his volley through a crowded box was turned away by the Wigan ‘keeper.
But it was Latics who should have taken the lead five minutes later when McManaman was picked out in the area by Arouna Kone. He cut inside Matija Nastasic, only to curl a left-footer wide of the post when well placed.
It was a widely open game and Robles made another fine stop just before the half-hour mark when Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero linked well to set-up Carlos Tevez. His shot was heading for goal only for the Spaniard’s foot to divert it over the bar.
Latics felt they should have had a penalty soon after when Jordi Gomez slipped a pass through to Roger Espinoza. He burst past Pablo Zabaleta into the area and appeared to have his heels clipped by the Argentine, but referee Andre Marriner ruled it out.
Moments later, Gomez was at it again, with his slide rule pass sending McManaman racing through. The England U20 star’s jinking run across the box took him away from Joe Hart and Zabaleta but his eventual shot was blocked.
At the other end, Nasri forced Robles into another diving stop when he carved out a shooting chance on the edge of the area after working his way in from the left to bring the first half to an end.
A superb last-ditch block by Latics skipper Emmerson Boyce denied City’s Sergio Aguero from netting within five minutes of the re-start as Tevez’s low cross was met by the striker only to be diverted inches wide by Boyce’s block.
City were trying to turn up the heat on Wigan, with another Tevez cross drifting across goal and agonisingly ahead of David Silva.
But Wigan were resolute and still had life in them, particularly on the break with McManaman a continual thorn in City’s side and they dominated the last 20 minutes.
It took another timely block from Vincent Kompany to deny McManaman, after he glided past Gael Clichy for the umpteenth time before shooting from the right.
McManaman then drew another foul and won Wigan a free-kick after beating Nastasic, but Shaun Maloney’s whipped cross-shot deceived everyone before clipping the bar and bouncing over.
And it was no surprise when City were reduced to ten men as Zabaleta recklessly crashed into McManaman to pick up his second booking of the day as the Wigan wingman broke through again.
Wigan now sensed victory and with Maloney continually probing and finding space in midfield, City were on the back foot.
And Wigan saved their winner for the ideal time too.
It was no surprise to see McManaman at the heart of it again, as he won a corner after another effortless beating of Clichy.
McManaman placed his flag-kick to the near post where Watson timed his run superbly to glance a header past Hart and into the far corner.
City pumped the ball continuously into the area in a bid to rescue the match, but Wigan held firm and the final whistle saw one half of Wembley come alive as a new name was etched into the trophy and FA Cup history.
Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany (c), Gaël Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Matija Nastasic, Yaya Touré, Samir Nasri (James Milner, 55), Gareth Barry (Edin Djeko, 90+2), David Silva, Carlos Tevez (Jack Rodwell, 69), Sergio Agüero
Subs not used: Costel Pantilimon, Javi Garcia, Aleksandar Kolarov, Joleon Lescott
Manager Roberto Mancini
Cautions: Pablo Zabaleta (60 mins & 84 mins), Matija Nastasic (75 mins), Gareth Barry (87 mins)
Red card: Pablo Zabaleta (84 mins)
Joel Robles, Arouna Koné, Antolin Alcaraz, James McCarthy, Shaun Maloney, Jordi Gómez (Ben Watson 81), Callum McManaman, James McArthur, Emmerson Boyce (c), Roger Espinoza ,Paul Scharner.
Subs not used: Gary Caldwell, Franco Di Santo, Fraser Fyvie, Román Golobart, Ángelo Henríquez, Ali Al Habsi.
Manager Roberto Martinez
Goals: Ben Watson (90+1)
Cautions: Joel Robles (90+3),
Referee Andre Marriner (Birmingham FA)
Assistant Referees Stephen Child (London FA) and Simon Long (Cornwall FA)
Fourth Official Anthony Taylor (Cheshire FA)