Robinson wrecks Wigan's good work

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An injury-time goal from Carl Robinson inflicted a defeat on Wigan they scarcely deserved and sent Wolves through to the fourth round.

An injury-time goal from Carl Robinson inflicted a defeat on Wigan they scarcely deserved and sent Wolves through to the fourth round.

The home side, who are leading the Second Division, enjoyed the better of an entertaining tie and were kept at bay only by some superb second-half saves from Michael Oakes. But in the second minute of time added on, Robinson raced into the area to meet Paul Simpson's cross with an unstoppable header.

With Wigan being able to boast the only unbeaten record in league football in Britain this season it was debatable whether beating Wolves would have counted as a Cup upset.

The visitors, against whom Wigan's millionaire chairman, Dave Whelan, broke his leg in the 1960 final, thus setting in motion a business career that is responsible for what the club has become, were without the suspended Simon Osborn and the cup-tied Michael Branch.

Wigan had a gap in their usual line up, in the absence of the Second Division's leading goalscorer, the previously ever-present Stuart Barlow, thanks to a foot injury in training.

Twice in the first five minutes Roy Carroll had to make excellent saves in the Wigan goal, first from Kevin Muscat's skidding free kick and then to tip away Neil Emblen's goal-bound shot on the turn.

Wigan's riposte was equally dramatic, the Frenchman Jeff Beron releasing Andy Liddell, and Lee Naylor having to slide in to clear his low cross from the goalmouth.

Generally, though, it was the extra class of the First Division team that threatened to produce the openings, even if they were sometimes guilty of over elaboration.There was nothing too fancy about their next chance, Emblen supplying Steve Corica, Carroll saving at full stretch and Kevin Sharp completing the clearance.

The major scare at the other end came when the veteran Keith Curle under-hit his back pass to give Simon Haworth a ball to chase. Haworth did get the ball into the net, via a post seven minutes before half-time, but the flag was already up for offside and Carroll continued to be the busier of the goalkeepers with another flying save from Corica.

Wigan made the livelier start in the second half with Liddell poking his shot over the bar, albeit from an off-side position, and Haworth heading wide. Michael Oakes also had to react quickly to cut out Haworth's low cross before it reached Liddell.

With regular showers making the conditions more and more treacherous, it was always likely that a mistake would produce the breakthrough and when Curle mis-cued a header, Scott Green raced through and Haworth's shot needed to be tipped over the bar.

A replay at Molyneux was the least that Wigan were worth, but a moment of slack marking gave Robinson his chance and even Carroll was helpless this time.