Ben Wat­son’s win­ner at Cardiff takes FA Cup hold­ers Wi­gan into last eight

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ian Golden To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

WI­GAN are qui­etly work­ing their way back to Wem­b­ley, but while a suc­cess­ful FA Cup de­fence would be even more re­mark­able than last year’s tri­umph, man­ager Uwe Rosler’s mind is else­where.

Rosler took over a Wi­gan side whose sea­son was in dan­ger of drift­ing away into noth­ing but now the Ger­man is hav­ing to find a way of bal­anc­ing as­saults on both league and cup.

Vic­tory over Pre­mier League Cardiff City leaves them just one game away from a re­turn to Wem­b­ley but the big­ger pic­ture re­mains their po­si­tion in the Cham­pi­onship.

Ninth in the ta­ble but only four points off the play-offs, a re­turn to the Pre­mier League is now a pos­si­bil­ity – per­haps pass­ing Cardiff on the way – any Rosler is not giv­ing up on ei­ther.

“We’re tak­ing it all game by game,” he said. “I’m very happy about the per­for­mance and ap­pli­ca­tion. Our sup­port­ers trav­elled in big num­bers and we wanted to make them proud.

“I want to com­pete against the best sides in the coun­try and we stood our own ground very well. We’re now in the last eight, but from this sec­ond un­til 7.45pm on Tues­day, we con­cen­trate on the Barns­ley game which is a big fix­ture.

“But my play­ers were fan­tas­tic and showed qual­ity and willpower, even at times when it got tough and I’m de­lighted to work with this group.”

Wi­gan led on 18 min­utes when Jordi Gomez did well to beat Cardiff weak link Kevin Theophile-Cather­ine. He then put in an inch-per­fect low cross for Chris McCann to ham­mer home.

The ad­van­tage lasted for just nine min­utes. Mats Moller Daehli and Wil­fried Zaha com­bined with trick­ery be­fore Fraizer Camp­bell blasted a clas­sic cen­tre-for­wards’ goal, low into the left hand cor­ner from just out­side the penalty area.

What turned out to be the win­ner came five min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val when Ben Wat­son made no mis­take from a free­kick, shoot­ing past a leaky Cardiff wall af­ter Gomez cre­ated with a quick tap. Af­ter that, de­spite the home side hav­ing 64 per cent pos­ses­sion and more than dou­ble the amount of shots on goal com­pared to the Lat­ics, the hold­ers de­fended well and de­serve their place in the last eight.

“I felt the first goal was fan­tas­tic,” Rosler added.

“The game-plan was to play pos­ses­sion foot­ball, keep­ing the ball as long as we can and mak­ing sure we took the tempo out of the game. Col­lec­tively we did that.

“But my head is al­ready spin­ning for Tues­day, who’s avail­able, who’s not and what we need to do be­fore Tues­day to get legs run­ning again.”

Cardiff boss Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer was nat­u­rally down-beat fol­low­ing his side’s per­for­mance and knows that they didn’t do enough to win the game, de­spite hav­ing enough op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It was a very dis­ap­point­ing re­sult for us and we didn’t start well,” he said.“We weren’t bright enough for the first 20 to 25 min­utes.

“Wi­gan are a good side, they’re Cup hold­ers and they play good foot­ball. They’ve prob­a­bly more Pre­mier League ex­pe­ri­ence than we have.

“But if you don’t take chances you don’t win games. It was a poor first goal to con­cede and it was a won­der strike for the sec­ond goal – you can’t blame David Mar­shall for ei­ther.

“We thought we had a chance. We were at home in the FA Cup for the first time in three years.

“We now have to work hard to en­sure Pre­mier League sur­vival, not feel sorry for our­selves and carry on.

“We have to pick our­selves up and go out in our re­main­ing games and play with no fear.”

PIC­TURES: TFLP pho­tog­ra­pher

HANDY: Wi­gan’s Ali Al-Habsi saves from Cardiff’s Juan Cala

EL­E­MEN­TARY: Ben Wat­son cel­e­brates his goal

STAR MAN CHRIS MC­CAN N Wi­gan

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