The Wembley dream ended for Wigan yesterday after they were beaten 2-0 by Southampton in the Quarter Final of the FA Cup.
The League One side had defied the odds on three separate occasions seeing off Bournemouth, West Ham and most memorably Manchester City to reach the final eight and hopes were high at the DW stadium that another shock might be on the cards.
Southampton, who hadn’t won a game since their fifth-round victory over West Brom, were buoyed by the appointment of new manager Mark Hughes who was looking to begin his reign with a victory.
But the Wigan fairytale came to an end as second-half goals from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Cedric Soares secured victory for the Saints.
Despite the result, Wigan fans were impressed with their side’s display and reflected positively on their run in the cup this season.
The glamour of the FA Cup was not so evident when in November, watched by just over 3,000 fans, Wigan began their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Crawley with goals coming from Ivan Toney and Lee Evans.
The cup story could have been so much different for Wigan however in the second round as after a 1-1 draw in the first game, they found themselves 2-1 down to AFC Fylde in the replay. With only 10 minutes remaining it looked bleak but a Will Grigg brace turned the tie on its head.
The first big test came against Bournemouth in the third round and surprisingly, Wigan took a 2-0 lead away at the Vitality Stadium inside 30 minutes thanks to goals from Grigg and a Emerson Hyndman own goal.
They couldn’t hold on however after Bournemouth mounted a second half comeback to equalise in injury time through Steve Cook to force a replay.
Coming so close to making the fourth round could have negatively affected Wigan but in the replay they bounced back and brushed aside Eddie Howe’s team 3-0 with Samy Morsy, Dan Burn and Callum Elder on the scoresheet.
Next up was West Ham and once again the man on fire, Grigg, was the key to victory as he bagged another double to take his tally to six goals for the competition.
It looked to be the end of the road for Paul Cook’s side when they were drawn against the all-conquering Manchester City.
The Latics were huge underdogs but were hungry for a giant-killing and they pulled off one of the FA Cup shocks of all time when Grigg’s goal was enough to down Pep Guardiola’s side in the fifth round.
The magic of the FA Cup really was alive when the Northern Irish striker pounced on a mistake from Kyle Walker and slotted calmly past Claudio Bravo to send Latics fans into delirium.
It enabled them to dream of a trip to Wembley yet despite matching Southampton for the majority of the game, quality eventually told and it was a round too far for Wigan.
Focus now turns back to League One as Wigan look to secure promotion back to the Championship. They currently sit third with games in hand on both Blackburn and Shrewsbury who are above them.