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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
19:12 13th April 2013
By  Nick Taylor

REPORT: MILLWALL 0 LATICS 2

Wigan Athletic are in the FA Cup final for the first time in their history after Shaun Maloney opened the scoring in the first half with a brilliant close range, side footed volley and then with 12 minutes to go Callum McManaman sealed the win taking the ball around the keeper after Jordi Gomez expertly put him in on goal.

It was Maloney who clinched Man of the Match in the game but McManaman proved himself a sensation as he lived up to the blown up image of him on the side of Wembley Stadium itself.

Roberto Martinez made one change from last week's game against Queens Park Rangers and it was between the sticks as Ali Al Habsi returned in place of Joel Robles.

Latics clear aim was to pass the ball from the start and it was the 'away' side who had the better of the first half, coming closest first when Callum McManaman's trickery found him in space on the edge of the area   to shoot but David Forde was equal to it as he tipped wide.

The theme of possession was a constant in the first 45 minutes but, it was vision that supplied Latics with the opening goal.

Arouna Kone's was a thorn in Millwall's side from the off with his power and pace but it was his previously unseen delicate side that set Maloney up for his goal.

Kone looked to have no options but with a step back from his defender, the Ivorian international clipped the ball around the back of the Millwall defence into the path of Maloney who had ghosted in behind Danny Shittu and beaten Forde to the ball to side foot a volley into the net.

As the netting rippled Latics' travelling support went barmy.

A rendition of 'I'm a Believer' before the game made hairs stand on end but when Latics scored and the fans sang it again, it was truly breath-taking.

The second half was a little bit more tricky at first, despite McManaman looking a constant thorn in Millwall's side from the restart, it was the Lions who started looked dangerous.

Constant pressure on the penalty area was Millwall's aim and it almost worked on a number of occasions as high balls were launched into the box with one almost resulting in Paul Scharner turning the ball into his own net but luckily for Latics a deflection off his boot went over.

Latics weathered a particularly harsh storm for 10 or so minutes despite Jordi Gomez hitting the side netting.

It was the magic Spaniard who set Latics on their way with 12 minutes to go though, as his sensational craft allowed McManaman to double Latics' lead.

It was five-on-five on the edge of Millwall's area and there looked like no way through but, there always is a way through with Gomez who slotted the ball between defenders down the left towards the six yard box, giving McManaman the chance to shift his body movement, send Forde to the ground and roll the ball into an empty net.

To say the faithful from Wigan behind the goal erupted is an understatement, they were that excited they didn't even know what to sing as chants of Callum McManaman and You Are My Sunshine sounded round Wembley Stadium.

Moments after the goal, Ali Al Habsi proved his worth in impeccable style as across from the left was clawed out of his top let corner before an instant cross from the right was then clawed out of the other.

With the final scare over, Latics began to turn on the style as they toyed with Millwall in possession until the very end, with a touching sentiment seeing Angelo Henriquez replace Callum McManaman, giving the 21-year-old the chance to receive a standing ovation.

Added time ticked down, the final whistle blew and Wigan Athletic sealed their place in history to make it to their first ever FA Cup final.