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Match Report


Posted Sat 04 Jan 14 at 16:54 PM

Wigan Athletic 3 MK Dons 3

Patrick Bamford's late strike helped MK Dons earn a Third Round replay with The FA Cup with Budweiser holders Wigan Athletic, after a 3-3 draw at DW Stadium.

Goals from Roger Espinoza and Jordi Gomez at the Championship hosts 2-0 up heading into first-half stoppage time but a Ben Reeves brace in the space of two minutes saw the teams go in at the break on level terms.

Callum McManaman then fired the Latics in front once again, just two minutes after Shaun Williams saw a penalty saved, but striker Bamford, in his final game before returning to parent club Chelsea, found the bottom corner in the 84th minute to send the tie to a replay with his 17th goal of the season.

As expected, Wigan started with the majority of possession, but the Dons were looking dangerous on the counter attack. Samir Carruthers fired the away side’s first chance over the crossbar, after James MacArthur had done the same for the Latics minutes before.

Reeves then went close to scoring as he curled an effort just wide from just inside the penalty area but, after 18 minutes, the same man then gave the ball away on the edge of his own area and Espinoza fired brilliantly beyond David Martin and into the back of the net to put the FA Cup holders in front.

Dele Alli then had an attempt at getting the Dons back on level terms as the ball fell to him after a defensive header, but his volley was wayward and at the other end, Jordi Gomez doubled Wigan’s lead by firing low beyond Martin on 26 minutes after being set up with a lovely pass from Grant Holt.

Karl Robinson’s men were unlucky to be two goals down and were putting the hosts under a considerable amount of pressure.

On the half hour, Alli won a free-kick in Shaun Williams territory, but the centre-back’s left-footed curler landed just the wrong side of the post and after three consecutive Dons corners, Wigan finally managed to clear and broke with Callum McManaman who forced a good low save out of Martin.

But the Dons deservedly pulled one back just before half-time as Baldock found Carruthers who played in Reeves to slot neatly beyond Ali Al Habsi and into the bottom corner of the net.

Then, just minutes later, some brilliant work from Bamford down the left hand side saw him beat his man and pull the ball back to Reeves to fire home and level up the game.

The second half saw the men from MK1 continue pressing and Baldock was agonisingly close to putting them ahead, but he couldn’t quite reach Alli’s inviting low cross. And it was Alli who had the Dons next chance, but Al Habsi did well to parry his driven effort out for a corner.

And the biggest chance for Robinson’s men to go in front was when Reeves fed Baldock who cleverly turned in the penalty area, only to be blocked off by substitute Chris McCann so referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot. But it wasn’t to be as Al Habsi guessed the right way and palmed Williams’ penalty away from danger.

It turned out to be a chance the Dons would rue as McManaman timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap and slotted the ball beyond Martin to restore the hosts’ lead. Robinson brought on Daniel Powell and Brendan Galloway in an attempt to get his side back on level terms.

Wigan substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune came close to doubling their advantage as he dragged a low effort just wide of Martin’s post. With just eight minutes left, the Latics failed to clear and Patrick Bamford showed his striking instincts and fired home to give the travelling MK Army a goodbye gift.

The Dons did have chances to win the tie altogether late-on, firstly through Bamford and then Kay, but the game finished all-square, meaning the Dons will be in the hat for tomorrow's Fourth Round draw.

A date for the replay will be confirmed in due course.

Wigan Athletic: Al Habsi, Boyce (c), Perch, Barnett, Espinoza, McArthur, Gomez (McCann 46), McManaman, Holt (Fortune 59), McClean (Dicko 75), Beausejour.

Subs not used: Pollitt (GK),, Fyvie, Redmond, Crainie.

Goals: Espinoza 18, Gomez 27

Booked: Gomez

MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Hodson (Baldock 35), Kay, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Carruthers (Galloway 71), Reeves, Alli (Powell 71); Bamford.

Subs not used: McLoughlin (GK), Flanagan, Chadwick, Smith.

Goals: Reeves 45, 45, Bamford 84

Booked: Alli, Williams

Attendance: 6,960 (930 away)

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