Paul Cook’s League One Wigan Athletic put in a dominant display against David Moyes’ West Ham United of the Premier League on Saturday afternoon to pull off a classic giant killing and book a place in the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round.
Northern Irish International striker Will Grigg put Wigan ahead in the first ten minutes at the DW Stadium, before he doubled that lead after the break from the penalty spot in the wake of a Reece Burke handball.
Sandwiched in between the two was a red card for visiting winger Arthur Masuaku for a spit out at Latics attacker Nick Powell, as the Irons failed to register a single shot on target away at a team two Divisions and 33 League places below them.
A Cup upset for the 2013 champions leaves them eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Draw for the Fifth Round to be held on Monday evening, having knocked out Top-Flight opposition for the second time in this year’s Competition.
From the start in Lancashire, Latics Boss Cook decided on just one alteration in the wake of his side’s impressive 1-3 away victory at Home Park over Plymouth Argyle last Saturday.
Departing from the starting Xl was Reece James, to be replaced by Callum Elder in the midfielder, new signing, on loan from Swansea City Jay Fulton, started on the substitutes’ bench.
Meanwhile, Hammers Manager Moyes mace sic changes to his team after a home Premier League draw with AFC Bournemouth at the London Stadium, also last Saturday afternoon.
Coming back into the Xl were England keeper Joe Hart, youngsters Sam Byram, Reece Burke and Josh Cullen, along with prolific Spanish youngster Antonio Martinez and Javier Hernandez, they took the places of Adrian San-Miguel, veteran James Collins, Skipper Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate and key men Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic, Inter Milan loanee Joao Mario was among the seven substitutes.
There would be an eventful start in Lancashire, and after just seven minutes of the gritty affair, the home side gained an early advantage, setting the tone for the rest of the matchup.
An excellent run and floated cross down the right side from Nathan Byrne found Grigg at the far post, towering above Burke, to head powerfully into the near top corner and past Hart.
It was the 32nd strike that the Manchester City loanee has conceded this season alone with his National team manager watching from the Stands, and it very nearly got a hell of a lot worse form him.
Mere moments later, another cross from the far side, this time a free-kick delivery, caused havoc in the West Ham box, eventually finding its way to Cheyenne Dunkley at the far post, who swept home into the back of the net.
But, the offside flag was up, though this didn’t stop Cook’s men from yet more pressing, Michael Jacobs going close, seeing his first-time volley from range held onto by Hart.
Whereas, at the other end, Moyes’ boys were struggling to create anything of any real note and this wasn’t helped by a serious knee injury for Pedro Obiang, the Spaniard needing to be stretchered off and replaced by England Youth star Reece Oxford.
He produced the away side’s best moment in front of goal in the first-half, aside from a few unsuccessful corners, lining up an effort following Hernandez’s and Cullen’s blocked shots which flew over the bar.
As did Powell’s long-range strike a short while before, none of them able to trouble the scorers though and the two teams went into the break with only a single goal separating them.
The Hammers looked to be upping the ante in attack for the second period, substituting defender Pablo Zabaleta for a man they had only signed from Italy on Friday, Portugal man Mario.
However, their very small foot-hold in the affair was demolished just four minutes into the second 45, Powell beating Masuaku to put the ball out for a throw-in on the near side and the DR Congo International reacting.
Referee Chris Kavanagh immediately being swamped by players in blue and white before striding over to produce a red card for Masuaku, replays clearly showing that he had spat at Powell and now faces a ban of six games at the very least.
In the minutes that followed, it seemed only a matter of when and not if the hosts would double their advantage and it came on 62 minutes, albeit in slightly fortunate circumstances.
Grigg looked to flick the ball over the head of youngster Burke in the 16-yard box and instead, it struck his arm, although his arm was not outstretched and only protecting the side of his body, Kavanagh awarded a penalty with the help of his Linesman.
Grigg stepped up and it was no surprise that he converted straight down the middle, notching his 14th of the campaign in all Competitions, minutes after spurning a superb headed chance to make it two.
The goal was significant in crushing any hopes that the visitors may have had of forging any kind of comeback, and the hosts had their chances to rub further salt into their wounds in the latter stages.
Byrne flashed a dangerous low ball in from the right of the box, Grigg inches away from getting on the end of it to find his hat-trick, while Mario looked a threat at the other end late on, to no avail, however.
And ultimately, the scores would remain the same to send a very vocal home support back home happy and leaving a turnout of 4,750 travelling members of the Claret & Blue Army packing disappointed, knocked out of Football’s oldest Competition.
Athletic won’t have long to bask in the glory of their historic win before making the tricky trip to Rochdale on Tuesday night in League One, resuming the fight for Promotion to the Championship.
The East Londoners are also swiftly back in action on Tuesday, now able to give the battle for Premier league survival full attention, playing host to positional rivals Crystal Palace at the London Stadium.