The Latics have managed to pass into the fifth round of the FA Cup as Wigan close in on a place at Wembley. It was all at the expense of a valiant Macclesfield team, who pushed Latics close right to the end of the game, and the Silkmen managed to put away one of their chances, this could be a different story.
Roberto Martinez made eight changes to the team that started the defeat against Sunderland last weekend. The highlight of the changes was Spanish goalkeeper Joel making his debut for the in a game where he would come to show his quality. That would be later, as Wigan settled into the half quicker and looked to take advantage of the non-leaguers.
The players seemed almost too relaxed on the ball, and not really wanting to go for the jugular and get the early goal. Although Callum McManaman would show his skill, lively as he was down the right hand-side. Willing to take the ball up and try to beat his man to get into the box.
And that is exactly what Callum did six minutes in. Jordi Gomez with a lovely ball to break the Macca defence, saw Callum sprint onto the end of it before Audel brought down the young winger. The referee had no choice and pointed to the penalty spot. Jordi Gomez the man to take it, his last penalty was saved against Bournemouth before he tucked in the rebound. This time he would need no rebound, placing the ball in the bottom left hand corner leaving on loan goalkeeper Anyon no chance.
1-0 and for the opening few minutes we had been the better team, could we now go on and romp to victory?
The answer to that is no. The following 20 minutes of the first half became ever so slightly scrappy. Wigan looking to hold on the ball and keep possession, while Macclesfield wanted to try and open us up on the counter. As it was the next big chance again fell to Callum McManaman who had time and space on the edge of the box after the keeper failed to clear, yet his shot went wide.
This wasn't turning out to be an easy game, and you could sense we needed a second goal to kill off the energy coming from the homeside. Luckily for us that was it was in the first half, as they didn't produce many clear cut chances. The one they got, with five minutes to go in the half fell to center back Audel who was up for a corner. The second ball in found him free, yet his header was straight at Joel in the Latics goal.
Half-time and Wigan went in 1-0 up. Were we lucky? Well we deserved the lead, but we hand't done much since then. Macclesfield were defiantly coming into the game, and could have equalized had they made more of their chances.
As it was they started the stronger second half. Barnes-Homer getting into some space, pulled the ball across the face of the Latics goal. It fell to the feet of Murtagh, yet he was unable to get his shot way first time. Had he done so he may have been able to beat the keeper, instead Gomez cleared the ball.
A warning then that the homeside wasn't going to lie down. Were Wigan going to react.
David Jones was brought on to steady the Wigan ship. In doing so he could have given away a penalty, that man Barnes-Homer at the center of it all. His shot at goal blocked before the ball back in hit Jones in the arm. Penalty the home fans cried, the referee waved it away. The luck was with Wigan, last week that had been given against us and a penalty was the decision then.
The pressure kept coming from Macclesfield and they pushed and pushed, but they couldn't blow the Wigan defence down. Maynor Figueroa the experienced head in the defence keep calm and in control, leading by example as he dealt with the attacks coming our way. It was a case of clearing the ball, closing shots down, and then trying to hit them on the counter.
Yet the tide of Macclesfield attack just kept coming. Fairhurst was the next to squander a chance, while the Winn who came on could only produce a few poor crosses. Wigan watching the game out, and taking their 1-0 victory to make the fith round.