FA Cup final: Manchester City 0-1 Wigan Athletic

Ben Watson and Roberto Martinez

Wigan Athletic claimed the first major trophy in their 81-year history when Ben Watson’s last-minute goal won the FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley.

Roberto Martinez’s side produced a performance full of attacking intent and verve to fully deserve this historic win against firm pre-match favourites City, who had Pablo Zabaleta sent off six minutes from time.

Substitute Watson, who has missed much of the season after breaking his leg in November, sent Wigan’s fans into ecstasy with a near-post header from Shaun Maloney’s corner at the very moment the board went up to signal three minutes of stoppage time.

The goal was just reward for Wigan, whose drive and intensity was in sharp contrast to the desperately lacklustre display served up by City as last season’s Premier League champions end this campaign empty-handed.

It completed a miserable day for manager Roberto Mancini, which began with reports that was about to be sacked and replaced by Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini and ended with a defeat that left City’s hierarchy looking on stone-faced from the Royal Box as Wigan celebrated.

Opposite number Martinez is also at the centre of speculation about his future as he has been linked with the forthcoming managerial vacancy at Everton – and his stock will have risen markedly now he has the FA Cup against his name.

And when this final is remembered, the performance of Wigan’s Callum McManaman will be recalled alongside Watson’s goal after a magnificent, and close to unplayable, display of wing play which gave City defender Gael Clichy a harrowing afternoon.

It was also a moment of sheer joy for Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, who broke his leg playing for Blackburn Rovers in the 1960 FA Cup final against Wolves at Wembley. He led the team out, then watched in delight as they lifted the treasured trophy…

City, who had struggled for rhythm all afternoon, were reduced to 10 men with six minutes remaining when Zabaleta was dismissed. It was a simple decision for referee Andre Marriner when the Argentine, played into trouble by Barry’s careless pass, hauled down McManaman having earlier received a yellow card.

Then came the moment that will be recalled in Wigan forever. Watson escaped from Rodwell at the near post to meet Maloney’s corner and history was made.

I cannot muster sufficient praise for everyone associated with this stunning and well-deserved victory. From the geezer himself, Dave Whelan, down through Roberto Martinez and all the Wigan players – they outworked the posh opposition. The giant-killers got what they deserved, what they fought so very hard for.

8 thoughts on “FA Cup final: Manchester City 0-1 Wigan Athletic

  1. Dave says:

    I’m a huge Wigan fan, so it’s great to see them get their due! Hopefully this means staying in the top flight as well!

    • johnmartynwilson says:

      It was a great victory and well deserved. it would have been been even better if the match (a) had started at 3:00pm and (b) had been shown on BBC TV rather than ITV. The Sweet FA continue to treat their prize possession with contempt, moving it around to suit TV schedules and “more valuable” matches like the Champions League final, and they have no consideration whatsoever for the fans. And ITV’s football coverage remains simply dreadful.

      • Dave says:

        Sorry to hear that. I’m actually in the U.S. so any Premier league games I get to watch are usually at weird hours and I’m lucky if I get to see the Latics play. My friend (and co-founder of The Blog of Funny Names) Arto has told me that I’m probably the most die-hard Wigan fan in North America πŸ™‚

        I love Martinez and his gumption. He has a knack for saying outrageous things like “Sure, we can beat Man Utd and Arsenal and Newcastle to stay in the top flight this year” and then turns around and does them. Perhaps the most excited I have ever gotten for any sporting event was when Wigan was playing West Ham with a week or two left in 2011, and Wigan came back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to win on a Charles N’Zogbia goal in stoppage time. I must have hollered for 30 seconds at least before I regained my composure πŸ™‚

        Here’s hoping for another great escape and continued success for the only team never relegated from the first division πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing the good news. I have been so busy I didn’t get to follow the FA cup as much as I would have liked.

    • eideard says:

      Let’s see how your Spurs do in Stoke, this morning, first, eh?

      Two of my best fave commenters, Alan Parry and David Pleat, doing it on Fox Soccer. I always learn something from Pleat – even though he wasn’t the most successful mgr Spurs ever had.

  2. moss says:

    Hopefully, Wigan will be back in the Prem, soon. They lost to the Gooners, today – and the math runs out.

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