Cardiff City 1 Wigan Athletic 2 match report: Ben Watson gives Wigan scent of Wembley

FA Cup holders take another Premier League scalp with winner coming from familiar source

Cardiff City Stadium

It is not given to many managers to take over an FA Cup-winning team and Uwe Rösler is clearly determined to make the most of it. Having spent the whole 90 minutes in the technical area yesterday, cajoling his players and adjusting the tactics, he celebrated the final whistle and a deserved victory by clenching a jubilant fist towards the directors box and then rushed onto the pitch to congratulate every one of his team.

There was also, of course, a polite handshake for the beaten manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who may now be regretting having recommended the German to the owner of Brentford, where he did an excellent job before stepping up as replacement for Roberto Martinez last summer.

Rösler may have come late to the party but he has enjoyed it enormously in knocking out Milton Keynes Dons, Crystal Palace and now Cardiff. Whether the latter pair count as giants this season may be debatable, but they are of superior league status and the Championship side have slain them.

 

Yesterday, there was another winning goal from Ben Watson, the ginger midfielder who came on as a late substitute at Wembley last May to crush Manchester City. Here he drove in a superb 25-yard free-kick after Fraizer Campbell had brought Cardiff level and prompted their one convincing spell of the game.

Watson was one of five Cup-winners starting the game for the visitors, who made light of the absence of influential midfielders James McArthur and Nicky Powell. Rösler had started with last season’s three men at the back but was flexible enough to move to 4-2-3-1 later and his players worked tirelessly, closing down the Premier League side all over the pitch.

“I was very happy with the performance and the application,” their manager said. “We have had the hardest match programme in the country since last August but my players have shown fantastic qualities, and the willpower to come through games.” Because of the Europa League programme, this was Wigan’s 41st match of the season.

Rösler promised to attack and the holders did so from early on in a tie of changing fortunes that produced three goals and several changes of momentum even before the interval. Wigan were ahead in the 18th minute when Jordi Gomez, one of the Wembley survivors, won the ball back, took it to the byline and crossed to give Chris McCann – nominally one of the three centre-backs – a tap-in.

The visitors were the better side at that point but they were pegged back eight minutes later after some poor defending. Wilfried Zaha was crowded out as he tried to wriggle through and there were sufficient defenders in attendance to have cleared before Campbell drove a low shot past a possibly unsighted Ali Al Habsi for his eighth goal of the season and third in the Cup.

That got Cardiff going and a good combination between the impressive Norwegian Mats Daehli – one of three debutants – and Zaha led to Campbell heading the latter’s cross just too high. By half-time, however, Wigan were back in front, following a foul by the Spanish defender Juan Cala on Marc-Antoine Fortuné. Gomez touched the free-kick to Watson, whose 25-yarder flew past Cardiff’s poor imitation of a wall.

Cala headed against a post just before the interval but with Rösler moving to a conventional back-four, Cardiff found it hard to  make further chances until the final 10 minutes, when central defenders Cala and Steven Caulker were sent into attack. Daehli had one shot deflected over the bar, and Zaha’s effort was beaten out by Al Habsi, who then saved well from substitute Craig Noone.

Home matches against Hull and Fulham look more crucial than ever if Cardiff are to avoid an immediate return to the Championship. “There’s talent here and we’ve got to go out and play with no fear,” Solskjaer urged those who may be losing faith.

Line-ups:

Cardiff City (4-1-3-2): Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Cala, Caulker, Taylor; Medel (Cowie, h-t); Daehli, Eikrem (Kim, 77) Zaha; Berget (Noone, 60) Campbell.

Wigan Athletic (3-4-1-2): Al-Habsi; Boyce, Ramis, McCann; Perch, Watson (McEachran, 57), Espinoza, Beausejour; Gomez (Crainey, 77); McManaman (McClean, 66), Fortuné.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Man of the match: Daehli (Cardiff City)

Match rating: 7/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Sport
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
football
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas