There will be no return to Wembley for Latics in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy after a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes was followed by a 4-2 penalty shoot out defeat to Barnsley at the DW Stadium.
In driving rain, Latics were not at their fluent best throughout the afternoon but did come back twice and showed great tenacity, especially in a tense second half, where Will Grigg scored twice, although there was a question mark over whether he got the final touch to his first, just after the restart.
Caldwell made four changes for the game, bringing back regulars Perkins and Michael Jacobs to the starting line-up after they were on the bench last weekend at Southend, while JPT ever-presents Andy Kellett and Jack Hendry also started.
Kellett, in an unfamiliar role at right-wing back, almost made an immediate dramatic impact, going down in the area inside the first two minutes, but loud penalty appeals were turned down by the referee.
Barnsley settled quickest and looked the more dangerous. Ben Pearson’s stinging shot took Juusi Jaaskelainen two attempts to save while Ivan Toney headed over the bar in and Jaaskelainen had to palm away Adam Hammill’s effort from the edge of the box after he was allowed to run past two defenders.
But Jaasekelainen could do nothing when Hammill broke free on the left side on 42 minutes, cut inside and curled a shot low into the far corner.
Latics struggled to find rhythm in a disappointing first half, moves breaking down in the final third and a Jacobs effort from the edge of the box over the bar was the one real attempt at goal.
Caldwell replaced Reece James with Yanic Wildschut at half-time in an attempt to seize back the initiative, the side reverting to a flat back four, and it paid immediate dividends. Latics’ flying Dutchman was sent down the left by a wonderful through ball on 48 minutes by Kellett, Wildschut crossed low from the byline, and Grigg was there at the near post, although the final touch may have came off Lewin Nyatanga .
Latics could have taken the lead immediately afterwards when a deflected shot was cleared off the line by Alfie Mawson but Barnsley scored their second when Toney headed home into an empty net when Jaaskelainen could only parry a Conor Hourihane drive into his path.
Caldwell made a double substitution on the hour mark, replacing Alex Revell and Jacobs with Davies and Jordan Flores.
The game had turned into a real cup tie, with the action flowing from one goal to the next.
Hammill had a chance to score for the visitors in a copy of his goal but put the ball wide, before Mawson almost sliced into his own net from a Davies right wing cross. Jaaskelainen then punched away a Hourihane free-kick before Wildschut saw his effort deflected over for a corner.
Back came Barnsley and Jaaskelainen had to smother Marley Watkins’ drive from ten yards after 73 minutes.
With ten minutes to go, Latics were being frustrated but the breakthrough finally came in the 82nd minute, a move begun by Kellett down the middle, he found Davies on the edge of the box, who found Hendry, the ball came back to Davies, who showed superb strength to drive in a cross and Grigg smashed it into the roof of the net from six yards – this time there was no mistaking who got the final touch.
Would we be having penalties or could one of the sides clinch it?
Sam Winnall shot over before Latics raced up the pitch to earn a corner but the Toney broke away and fired inches wide. Edge of the seat stuff.
Wildschut then found himself clear but his ball across to Davies was just behind him and the move broke down.
Five minutes additional time were announced as Perkins slid in on Toney to thwart a chance, then a scuffle broke out among the players as tensions rose on the pitch as well as off it. As the five minutes passed, Latics pressed but couldn’t find the winner.
So penalties it was.
Power stepped up first and sent Adam Davies the wrong way. Hourihane slotted home to Jaaskelainen’s left to make it 1-1. Davies then blazed over. Toney stepped up for Barnsley and placed it in the corner to make it 1-2. Perkins then saw his effort saved. Winall made it 1-3 and Latics needed a miracle. Flores made it 2-3 but Mawson put home his penalty and it was all over at 2-4.