Saturday 11 May 2013

Last-gasp Watson wins FA Cup for Wigan

Midfielder's added-time header sees off Manchester City and earns Latics first FA Cup victory

Ben Watson's FA Cup-winning header flies past Man City's Joe Hart

Wigan Athletic pulled off a memorable upset after producing a last-minute winner to defeat Manchester City and claim the FA Cup for the first time.

Substitute Ben Watson, who had been out of the first team since November after suffering a broken leg in a Premier League match against Liverpool, rose to glance Shaun Maloney’s corner past Joe Hart in the first minute of added time.

Though 40 points separate the two sides in the Barclays Premier League there was little to suggest such a disparity on a day when winger Callum McManaman proved a constant thorn in City’s side.

The 22-year-old winger broke through City’s rearguard three times in the first half only to twice find his finishing wanting and once find Roberto Mancini’s defenders able to provide cover in the nick of time.

The 2011 winners did create the best chance of the first half when Carlos Tevez appeared unmarked in the area, but Joel Robles reacted wonderfully to deny the Argentina forward's low shot with an outstretched leg when a goal appeared to be a certainty.

After the break it took another superb block by Vincent Kompany to thwart the lively McManaman as he weaved his way into the penalty area and Maloney also looped a free-kick on to the bar, while at the other end Robles held a goalbound header by substitute Jack Rodwell.

City were reduced to 10 men with six minutes remaining when Pablo Zabaleta was dismissed for a second bookable offence, after felling McManaman as he hared in on goal. Then, with the match seemingly destined for extra time Watson, a second-half substitute, rose at the near post to glance a historic header into the far corner of the net.

Wigan will hope to draw confidence from this victory as they continue their battle to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League. Martinez's side lie three points from safety with two matches remaining, the first of which entails a trip to Arsenal on Tuesday.

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Key Points

  • Wigan Athletic win first FA Cup
  • Ben Watson's added-time header seals 1-0 defeat of Manchester City
  • Wigan next turn their focus to Barclays Premier League survival with trip to Arsenal on Tuesday