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Wigan Win Battle Of Wills

Wigan Win Battle Of Wills


LEEDS: Sullivan, Kelly, Butler, Kilgallon, Crainey, Miller (Einarsson 87), Walton (Blake 103), Douglas, Lewis (Cresswell 88), Hulse, Healy.

Subs Not Used: Bennett, Pugh.

WIGAN: Filan, Chimbonda, De Zeeuw, Jackson, Baines, Teale, Francis (Bullard 77), Kavanagh, Skoko (Joyce 100), Johansson, Roberts.

Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Lee.


15,243 watched on at Elland Road as Wigan finally won a battle of wills with Leeds to reach the FA Cup fourth round.

Four times in this tie Leeds fought back from a goal down to level, never giving up a lost cause. Until the heartbreaking penalty shootout that is.

Graham Kavanagh fired home the final nail in the FA Cup coffin for Kevin Blackwell with the winning spot-kick, but there were a whole host of emotions before it.

Prior to that the preceding 120 minutes had been nailbiting stuff, with Wigan three times taking the lead, only for Leeds to hit back on each occasion.

Yet the drama of the spot-kicks proved their undoing, with David Healy and Rob Hulse blazing over, while Wigan were perfect, with Jimmy Bullard, Gary Teale, two-goal hero Jason Roberts and Kavanagh all on target.

Wigan managed to take a 23rd-minute lead, with a rare strike from Sweden international Andreas Johansson. He managed to nab his third goal for the club, seizing on a knock down from Roberts, and although his first effort struck the post while under pressure from Matthew Kilgallon, he forced home the rebound from close range.

Wigan, on the balance of play, had deserved the lead, even if they were fortunate not to be trailing after just four minutes.

The industry of on-loan Manchester United midfielder Liam Miller saw him ride a tackle deep inside his own half from Republic of Ireland team-mate Kavanagh.

Miller then embarked on a 70-yard run before laying the ball off to Healy, and despite rounding the advancing John Filan, the angle proved too tight as his weak shot finished in the side-netting.

After a couple of chances for Damien Francis, Wigan served notice of their intent in the 15th minute when Teale rattled the bar from 18 yards.

Yet Johansson's breakthrough soon after galvanised Leeds, rather than forming the platform for the Latics to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Hulse, hero 10 days ago at the JJB Stadium with a late leveller, showed deftness of mind and touch to turn Arjan de Zeeuw on the edge of the area after receiving a through ball from Simon Walton, only to shave the bar with a rising drive.

Five minutes from the break, Leeds gained their reward for the more industrious football at that stage, with poacher Healy on the line to force the ball home after Filan had superbly blocked a downward Hulse header.

Unbowed, Wigan started the second half in the ascendancy and were back in front in the 49th minute, with Roberts ending a five-game goal drought with his 10th of the season.

Dragging down Teale's right-wing cross, Roberts then turned, shrugging aside the attentions of Gary Kelly, before despatching a crisp 20-yard drive into the bottom right-hand corner.

But again that only steeled Leeds' resolve, and after Eddie Lewis had rattled the crossbar from an acute angle, Leeds proceeded to hit back for the second time on the night, and third overall in the tie.

There was no doubt about the 63rd-minute handball decision awarded by referee Graham Poll against Matt Jackson, with the centre-back's right hand catching Kelly's outswinging corner.

That allowed Healy to beat Filan from the spot, with the pace on the ball the undoing of the Australian who had dived the right way.

There was almost a spectacular winner from Miller in regulation, but for the third time in the game the woodwork intervened, with the angle of bar and post beating away a searing 25-yard half-volley.

Still the drama continued in extra time, with Roberts heading Wigan back in front in the 103rd minute, yet Leeds refused to lie down.

In the 115th minute a half-cleared corner to Kelly was thundered home from 25 yards, with the right-back scoring his first goal for three years, and only his fourth in 14-and-a-half seasons with the club.

But despite such valour, Leeds were found wanting at the death, and instead it was Wigan who marched on.



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Writer:
Date:Wednesday January 18 2006
Time: 3:18PM

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