Wigan Athletic 0-2 Southampton: FA Cup quarter-final – as it happened

Paul Wilson's match report


That, then, is us - thanks for your company, and bye!

So there we are. Wigan can return to a promotion battle - they’re three points off an automatic place, but have two games in hand - while Southampton have work to do in securing their status as a Premier League side. They’ll take confidence from how they dug in today, and are now fighting for Wembley places on top of that.

Full-time: Wigan Athletic 0-2 Southampton

Southampton win their first game under Mark Hughes, to join Spurs and Man United in the semi-finals. Wigan, though, have lit up the competition and played very well again today, helping to deliver a belter of a cuptie.

Hughes celebrates Southampton’s win.
Hughes celebrates Southampton’s win. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters


90+3 min Neither Hojbjerg nor Cedric had scored for Southampton before today. Amazing what fear of a boot up the undercarriage can achieve.

GOAL! Wigan Athletic 0-2 Southampton (Cedric, 90+2)

This is beautifully taken. Southampton break off the corner and Redmond, out on the left, looks to switch play. But the ball hits a defender and Cedric, a right-back on the left-wing, heads into stride, accelerates, steadies, and smacks a low finish into the corner. Southampton are going to Wembley!

Cedric Soares celebrates scoring The Saints second.
Cedric Soares celebrates scoring The Saints second. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


90 min There shall be four added minutes...

90 min What a pass from Colclough, who comes in off the left and flips a ball towards the far post, where Hunt leaps! But he can’t get the power he needs, pushing with his laces but allowing Hoedt to head away!

89 min Martin Keown’s man of the match is Christian Walton, the Wigan keeper. That’s fair enough, I suppose, but Lemina has come closer to deciding the match with his second-half performance.

88 min Final change for Southampton, Romeu replacing Gabbiadini.

86 min Southampton are seeing this away pretty competently, but Wigan need to believe they’ll get one chance - I don’t know if teams usually do, but it seems like they do. “Sparky Mark Hughes”, sing the away fans, who’ve seen enough at the end of straightened times to be very happy indeed.

85 min Oh man. I don’t suppose I’m allowed to post this, but when Hojbjerg leapt to celebrate his goal, he accidentally booted someone, Hoedt I think, square in the dress circle. I think you’ll be seeing plenty of it, so please excuse me.

83 min Wigan are looking to feed Colclough down the left whenever they can, but so far Cedric is nursing him well. So Wigan go to the right, and from a Beckham kind of area, Powell curls in a Beckham kind of cross, but Stephens is well positioned to turn it away.

81 min Hughes makes another alteration, removing Carillo and introducing Long. I wonder if he and Gabbiadini won’t be a harder pair to control - no defenders will be arsed with their pace or movement.

81 min Talking of Byrne - and Burn - when else have homophones played in the same team?


80 min Final shy for Wigan: Byrne, who’s been excellent, is replaced by 35-year-old Noel Hunt.

79 min Colclough - is that short for Colinclough - goes down the left and crosses low, dangerously - but again Southampton clear. They’re fighting their arses off here.

77 min Back come Wigan, Grigg winning corner off Hoedt, and Power swings it to the back post. Powell is there, turning it goalwards, but Grigg can’t quite get to the loose ball. This is a brilliant game, every bit as good as the City game; I absolutely love the FA Cup.

76 min But Southampton are maintaining the pressure. The corner-count, once 11-0, is now 11-7; the corner-taking standard is still 0.


Gabbiadini smacks a low left-footer towards the bottom-right, and Walton guesses correctly, flinging out an arm to prang the ball away. That is wonderful behaviour! It is so rare you see a penalty hit like that be saved!

Walton saves the penalty.
Walton saves the penalty. Photograph: Paul Currie/BPI/REX/Shutterstock



I don’t surppose that’s very surprising. Bertrand gets the ball, looks up, and sees Gabbiadini again testing the line. The pass arrives, it’s perfect, and he stays on his feet long enough to force Burn into a challenge when, on the wrong side, he’s got no chance. Gabbiadini falls, and the ref points to the spot.

Burn takes down Gabbiadini.
Burn takes down Gabbiadini. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


70 min Mario Lemina has been good this half - his passing, in particular, has been excellent, though I’d not be surprised if he was doing more running about as well.

68 min Southampton kill a few minutes as Wigan ready themselves for a final push.

66 min Of course, Powell is already famed as one of the most famous subs of the modern era, brought on by Louis van Gall to replace Juan Mata when Man United were busy cementing their “heritage” against Wolfsburg. The problem here is that he’s carrying a hamstring injury, but you never know.

66 min And here’s what Wigan are doing about it: off go Roberts and Massey, on come Colcough and Powell.

65 min Change for Southampton, perhaps with those breaks in mind: Redmond is on for Boufal.

64 min So what can Wigan do about it? Southampton have been much better second half, and have the quality to punish them on the break.

GOAL! Wigan Athletic 0-1 Southampton (Hojbjerg, 62)

Over comes another corner and Carillo makes a good run to the front post, missing the ball. But Hojbjerg chases there too and takes advantage of the confusion to scuff-flick a shot that somehow sneaks past the 59 men between it and goal.

Hojbjerg scores the opener.
Hojbjerg scores the opener. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters
And celebrates.
And celebrates. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


62 min This is much better from Southampton, and they force another corner, Hojbjerg connecting well with a header that Walton punches behind. This is really enjoyable tussle, this, this is, is this.

60 min Southampton will do well to get a better chance than that. Byrne, meanwhile, is at the side of the pitch vomiting up the gizzard, gullet and testicles that he just swallowed.


58 min What a miss! What a save! Byrne brings the ball away and decides he’s running into trouble so pokes back to the keeper, failing to notice Gabbiadini, stood right in the middle of the box. The ball goes right to him and he can do anything - blast, lift, dink, round - but Walton does superbly to extend a leg and block a tentative finish.

Walton saves from Gabbiadini.
Walton saves from Gabbiadini. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


57 min Southampton win a corner down the left, close to the corner of the box, and Boufal decides he’s having a shot, looking for the far top corner but curling well over. Oh dear.

56 min Lemina finds Boufal down the left, and he shimmies inside then nips outside Byrne - that was so easy for him - and his low cross is a good one, bravely spanked away first-time by Dunkley.

55 min Massey carries the ball through midfield, and with Bertrand backpeddling and Byrne making a decoy run outside him, he decides to have a dig, dragging a low one just wide of the far post.

54 min Some midfield mess.

52 min This is much better from Southampton, who are knocking the ball around with more conviction. But then Wigan go down the left and Grigg attacks Cedric, who has to time his tackle very well to concede only a corner. This time, Power picks out Hoedt, who half-clears, and then Jacobs curls over the top from distance.

50 min Southampton are finding it hard to find space, but the Lemina picks a pass to Boufal, who’s come central, and he spreads wide to Bertrand, who crosses right into Byrne. From the thrown, Bertrand finds Boufal, and he curves a low cross between keeper and back line, but no one has gambled and the ball scoots out of play.

48 min Southampton are pushing a bit harder and a bit higher so far this half, urging one another up the pitch.

46 min Off we go again. The pitch has bare litter blowing across it.

The players are back with us... no changes.

Half-time discussion: “Not being ironical at all!” retorts Ron Stack. “End to end action with a League One side that has a legitimate chance - it was a great first half. Much, much more fun to watch than the Man U game.”

Apologies - though one’s own funeral was more fun to watch than that.

So, see you in 10.

Half-time: Wigan Athletic 0-0 Southampton

Wigan have been excellent, dominating the game, winning 10 corners and creating two pretty handy chances. Southampton have hinted their class, but need to do a lot better in the second half.

44 min Here come Wigan again! Jacobs is well-fed by Elder down the left and he crosses low and hard, but Grigg is on his heels in the middle.

42 min Wigan force corners nine and 10, but their delivery has been poor. They overhit the second one, but Byrne retrieves the ball and crosses for Dunkley to head down ... Grigg can’t quite reach with a poke.

40 min Wigan are first to everything at the moment, playing with drive, intensity and enterprise. Southampton are going to get absolutely tuttled when they return to the dressing room.

38 min Jacobs picks up the ball on the left of midfield and sets off towards the centre, avoiding two men and opening up the pitch. He has Grigg through the middle and Massey close by, but instead opts to shoot, the effort clipping a heel and rolling back to McCarthy. Wigan look by the far the likelier scorers.

37 min Byrne and Massey combine beautifully down the right and in comes the cross, finding Jacobs who finds Power. He then finds Grigg, who can’t quite find the angle to shoot, the ball skipping off a rut in the turf, and though Roberts turns up down the left to help him, the chance goes.

Grigg attempts to connect with the ball.
Grigg attempts to connect with the ball. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images


35 min Perhaps if Southamton had another midfielder - Ward-Prowse, I guess - they’d be able to control the game. Because at the moment, having two strikers is doing nothing for them.

33 min “What enjoyable game this is!” tweets Ron Stack – my guess is he’s being ironical. But I’m actually not minding it - both teams are putting it in, and there’s a decent chance of an upset.

32 min But out of nowhere, Bertrand slings over a brilliant low cross, looking for Gabbiadini, alert in the middle. He goes early again, though, and the flag goes up again.

31 min If he didn’t know it before, I’m sure Mark Hughes knows it now: he has a lot of work to do.

29 min Wigan are especially strong down the right, and win another corner down that flank. Power goes over to take this one and doesn’t go short, but does swing it out - why? Anyway, the ball went out and came back in again, so McCarthy is able to hump downfield.

27 min Morsy is allowed to carry the ball through midfield without molestation before finding Byrne down the right. His cross is a good one, but Hoedt is up well enough to flick away.

24 min Byrne wins Wigan’s sixth corner of the half. So far the delivery has not been great, and again they go short, Roberts taking the return pass to clip a cross against the nearest man. So he has another go and passes straight to the nearest Southampton player. Boufal breaks, but when the ball is switched from left to right Burn, who has tanked back, barges through Tadic and brings it clear.

Boufal breaks, chased by Morsy.
Boufal breaks, chased by Morsy. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images


22 min Wigan are back being better, not allowing Southampton to play out and looking more dangerous when they get the ball into the box.

20 min Wigan work their counters really nicely, and Massey and Grigg combine well, the latter crossing for the former. Stephens beats him to it though, heading down, but right at Roberts, who takes a lovely first touch only to poke with his second, sending the shot over the top from eight yards. That was a good chance, and one he should probably have steadied for, then applied laces to.

19 min Nice from Tadic, teasing Elder down the side of the box and buying the space to feed Lemina on the edge, whose first touch is nice, making room for the shot, and whose second touch is less nice, wafting the ball miles over.

18 min I note that Wigan have a sub called Jamie Jones. Presumably his parents are big Clash fans.

16 min The corner goes short and straight, then back to Byrne on the edge, whose shot is tame but takes a deflection ... and in the middle, Dunkley is free! He stretches and looks sure to score, but goes with his right not his left - the latter was better placed and would’ve given him a split second extra - and misses the ball, which trickles wide!

Dunkley misses a chance.
Dunkley misses a chance. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


15 min Lemina dithers and Morsey does not, burglarising the ball and shooting from distance to buy a corner off Hoedt.

14 min Southampton are now the better side, but then Wigan break and Power slides a pass down the side of Stephens for Griggs. He turns on it really well, using the outside of his boot to spin his man, but his shot is deflected behind. From the corner, McCarthy does really well, deciding to come and dealing competently,

13 min I would not be at all surprised to see extra-time here.

11 min Dunkley fouls Carillo unnecessarily and Southampton have the chance to swing one in from out on the left - Boufal does, and Walton comes, dropping the ball in front of Carillo. But the bounce is such that he can only wave a leg at it, allowing the keeper to pounce at the second attempt.

8 min Southampton are playing their way into this now. Lemina is finding time on the ball in midfield, and looking for Boufal and Tadic, the men who, if they play well, are good enough to decide this tie. Gabbiadini and Carillo are basically playing like split strikers, Carillo further forward but Gabbiadini looking to nip in behind when the chance presents itself.

6 min A lump from Hoedt sees Gabbiadini haring onto it, but he’s gone too early and the flag goes up. He won’t mind that but - he has excellent movement, and if he gets the service won’t be caught every time.

5 min Byrne chases down the right and crosses, winning a corner. But the wind catches Power’s outswinger, carrying it past the phalanx of men in the middle of the box to Morsey outside it. He wellies high.

4 min Martin Keown confirms that Paul Cook is “simply loving it”, having spoken to him pre-match, as Wigan push forward down the left. Roberts puts in two big challenges, but Cedric does enough to win the throw.

3 min Wigan are going for this, playing a high line and high up the pitch. Southampton have barely had a kick so far.

1 min The Southampton fans sound pleased with their new manager, singing “Mark Hughes’ red and white army.” In the meantime, Burn, all 6”7 of him, sticks one on Carrido. It’s hard but fair, and so say all of us.

1 min Wigan set us away!

Mark Hughes is wearing an overcoat - I’m surprised he’s not in shorts - and he applauds the away support, hands above head, then pumps his fist aggressively. It’s sooooo football.


Out come the players!

Sam Morsy and Ryan Bertrand walk out with mascots.
Sam Morsy and Ryan Bertrand walk out with mascots. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA


Paul Cook delivers a swift monologue about how hard it’ll be to win the Cup, before noting how much he wants to be promoted. He’s in great spirits, which I’m sure will transmit to his players.

Dion Dublin met Will Grigg earlier this week, and obviously he asks him about his song. Has any other tune, for one player, from one country, ever caught on in quite the same way?

Mark Hughes has been impressed with the application and quality of his players in the few days he’s had with them. The Cup is a competition that’s been good to him during his playing career, “so we’re hoping to progress”. A fine non-sequitur there ... or is it.

He thinks his work at Stoke stands comparison to anybody’s. No further questions, yer honour.

Hughes applauds the fans before kick off.
Hughes applauds the fans before kick off. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


Mark Chapman: “Does that win against City boost Wigan, or does it put more pressure on?”

Zinedine Skillbane: “I think it’s in the middle of both.”


Apparently it’s cold in Wigan. More news as I get it.

As far as today goes, can Wigan muster the same level of defence lunacy? In theory, that should be easily done, because it should be commonplace, but but is not. Raising yourself regularly is beyond almost everyone - for example, consider, er, yourself – and perhaps that performance will stand alone. If it does not, they have a very decent chance of getting a result today, because glad though Southampton might be to have a new manager, it probably won’t take much to knock them right out of stride.

Seeing as it’s Wigan and the Cup, this is one of the most beautiful football photos of which I’m aware.

Last time out...

Nothing whatsoever to do with football, not even tangentially: you know how every now and again you rediscover something brilliant that hadn’t been elevating your life on the reg? That happened to me this morning, via the album below – send me in your experiences of the same.

I suppose I’m a little surprised that Hughes has left out Ward-Prowse, especially given he’s picked two strikers who need servicing. But despite appearances and demeanours, he does like a maverick, so I’m not that surprised he’s gone for Boufal.

So Wigan make one change from Wednesday’s win at Bradford: Gary Roberts celebrates his birthday by replacing Nick Powell.

Southampton, meanwhile, pursue the quaint notion of playing strikers in a bid to score goals, Hughes bringing in Boufal and Gabbiadini for Ward-Prowse and Redmond.

Saints and Pie-eaters

Wigan Athletic (a flammable 4-2-3-1): Walton; Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, Elder; Morsy, Roberts; Massey, Power, Jacobs; Grigg. Subs: Jones, Perkins, Bruce, Hunt, Powell, Colclough, Fulton.

Southampton (a good, honest, old-fashioned, nan-haired 4-4-2): McCarthy; Cédric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Tadić, Højbjerg, Lemina, Boufal; Carrillo, Gabbiadini. Subs: Forster, Yoshida, Ward-Prowse, Sims, Romeu, Redmond, Long.

The great: Michael Oliver



Football is a simple game and football is a beautiful game – sentiments that announced themselves with clarion call when Wigan met Manchester City in the last round of this competition. City, the best side in the country, wove lovely patterns in dominating the ball and dictating the play, but Wigan, the 46th best side in the country, defended aggressively, attacked bravely, and took their chance brilliantly. Add to that a late tackle, exhibition rag-losing, unbridled ecstasy, silliness, schadenfreude and general chaos, and you have a decent answer to the question: “why are you so pitifully obsessed with something so painfully ridiculous?”

And Wigan will fancy themselves this afternoon, for Southampton are a mess. It’s possible that, after being mercilessly plundered, they’ve finally run out of players, except looking down their squad, they still have plenty of them. They might be struggling for a scorer, but they’ve no business being where they are on as bad a run as they are, so it’s far more likely that they simply compounded the error of sacking Claude Puel with the mistake of appointing Mauricio Pellegrino.

Quite whether Mark Hughes can resolve this is hard to predict. He will probably instil some steel, because no one will fancy meeting him in the dressing room having not left it all out there. And he definitely has some knowledge of what constitutes a good player, for he was one and has bought some, and what constitutes a good team, for he played in some and has managed some. The question is whether he can inspire and organise, quickly, because that is what he needs to do.

Football clubs being football clubs, the likelihood is that Hughes has been ordered, not to win the Cup because who needs eternal, unique, historic memories, but to keep Southampton up, because MONEY. And I suppose it would be hilarious and very football if his new club stayed up at the expense of the old one whom he helped there. But as Wigan fans know as well as anyone, football isn’t about preserving status but enshrining the greatest days and memories for evermore, so here we are!

Kick-off: 1.30pm GMT