Match Report: Roberto Martinez’s gamble pays off as Jordi Gomez sinks the Silkmen

Macclesfield Town 0 Wigan 1

Moss Rose

These clubs share so much history, arch rivals in the Northern Premier League, and the Cheshire League before that, until Wigan were voted into the Football League in place of Southport in 1978.

Macclesfield joined them in 1997 and stayed 15 seasons until their relegation last year, although their paths crossed only once. There were 82 League places between them yesterday yet all that separated the hosts from their Premier League opponents was a  seventh-minute penalty.

It proved enough to end brave Macclesfield’s dream of a place in the fifth round, which would have been two stages further than any FA Cup journey had taken them before this season.

Wigan themselves have been to the last 16 only once before and Roberto Martinez, their manager who is preoccupied largely with avoiding relegation, was grateful to Thierry Audel, Macclesfield’s French central defender, for fouling Callum McManaman in the box before the home crowd had warmed up enough to get behind their side, allowing Jordi Gomez to score from the spot. Joe Anyon, who arrived on an emergency loan on Friday after regular goalkeeper Lance Cronin broke his thumb, guessed correctly and got a hand to the Spaniard’s kick, but not firmly enough to keep it out.

Thereafter, Macclesfield confirmed that, under manager Steve King (below), they are a side capable of playing football of a quality not always associated with non-League sides. With better finishing, their play could have seen them send Wigan the same way as Bradford City did in the Capital One Cup.

“We knew that Macclesfield were unbeaten in six games in all competitions and you saw exactly why,” said Martinez, who had  gambled by making eight changes from his last Premier League selection.

“They are a well-balanced team, with good pace in the wide areas and a good understanding between the lines.

“We wanted to score the first goal but what we couldn’t do is get the second which would have given us control. As it was, we had to defend really well, had to show good concentration and Macclesfield deserve a lot of credit for that.”

McManaman, whose pace was the biggest threat to the home side in the opening half, went close to increasing Wigan’s lead, dragging his shot narrowly wide at the end of a six-man move, but for much of the opening half the action was at the other end.

Keiran Murtagh and Sam Wedgbury held sway in central midfield leading to a string of chances. Joel Robles, making his debut in Wigan’s goal, was fortunate that Matthew Barnes-Homer, the striker, could not put more power into his shot as Macclesfield responded to the urgings of their fans.

Craig Braham-Barnett then wasted a good break before Wedgbury fired wildly over the top, but John Paul Kissock’s shot would have tested Robles had Maynor Figueroa not made a block. If only Audel had been able to direct his header just a little more towards the corner when Wedgbury’s cross picked him out, the Silkmen would have turned around level.

Murtagh, the ball sticking frustratingly under his foot on a sticky surface as he tried to squeeze in a shot, had the best chance of the second half.

Destiny, in last week’s most shocking cup exit, had been with Bradford, Martinez remarked. This time it was with Wigan.

Macclesfield (4-4-2): Anyon; Jackson, Audel, Brown, Braham-Barrett; Mackreth, Wedgbury, Murtagh,  Kissock (Winn, 77); Fairhurst (McDonald, 76), Barnes-Homer.

Wigan (4-2-3-1): Robles; Stam, Golobart, Figueroa, Mustoe; Fyvie (Jones, 53), Espinoza; Dicko (Lopez, 66), Gomez, McManaman; Henriquez.

Referee: Roger East.

Man of the match: Murtagh (Macclesfield)

Match rating: 7/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss