Latics ready for cup replay
Latics' hopes of another lucrative run in the FA Cup with Budweiser remain alive following their 1-1 draw against Wolves at rainswept Boundary Park.
It was a well-earned draw for Latics who will play the men from Molineux for the third time in less than one month when they travel to the West Midlands for the replay.
Genseric Kusunga’s goal, his first for the club, after only 1min 14sec gave Latics the perfect start only for ex-player Scott Golbourne to equalise in what proved to be a stirring cup tie.
And the filthy conditions – driving rain, thunder and lightning – just went to heighten the drama and excitement in the gloom at Boundary Park.
Latics more than matched a Wolves side which still contains a sprinkling of players from their Premier League days.
Lee Johnson was delighted with the efforts of his players believing they could have snatched victory in a see-saw clash.
Latics' manager said: "Wolves are a very good team, an ex-Premier League side which still has an awful lot of talent.
"I think a draw was a fair result and in the second half we had the chances to may be nick the win.
"I thought we were unlucky but, more importantly, I thought my boys were fantastic."
Johnson was happy for Kusunga to open his goalscoring account for the club saying it was reward for the work they do on set pieces on the training ground.
Latics' manager was disappointed with Wolves’ equaliser, but pleased by the grit and determination his players showed after they conceded.
He continued: "In the second half we showed a lot of endeavour and had quite a few chances.
"I thought we were comfortable and the side in the ascendancy. I think the fans will have gone home realising it was a good cup tie."
Johnson fielded the same side which kicked off at Bristol City, the first time this season he had named an unchanged line up. There were changes on the bench as Connor Brown returned from a lengthy injury lay off while there was a first inclusion for scholar Jordan Bove.
Wolves made three changes from the side which drew 2-2 at Carlisle in midweek as strikers Leigh Griffiths and Kevin Doyle, both full internationals, stepped down to the bench.
James Henry forced Latics' keeper Mark Oxley into a diving safe after only 14 seconds.
But barely one minute later and Latics were ahead as Kusunga leaped to head home a free kick from James Dayton as the ball looped into the net. He is pictured celebrating his goal.
Dayton could have made it 2-0 moments later as he was left completely free on the left side of the penalty area only to shoot narrowly wide of the far post.
It wasn't until midway through the half that Wolves began to get a toe hold back into the game as Latics struggled to keep possession.
Dave Edwards twice fired into the side netting while Richard Stearman’s header struck the upright.
Latics failed to heed those warning signs as Wolves' 37th minute equaliser came as no surprise given the chances they were creating.
Henry crossed from the left and former Latics’ loanee Golbourne found the net with a far-post header. The left back was a constant threat as he continually joined the attack.
Danny Philliskirk had a chance to restore Latics’ lead late in the half, but fired wide of the far post.
Latics made a bright start to the second half as Adam Rooney and Dayton had openings.
Wolves, too, had their moments as Bakary Sako had a shot beaten out by keeper Oxley while Edwards' follow-up was deflected for a corner. Danny Batth also saw a header flash just wide.
Kusunga went close to a second goal after a quickly taken free kick. The defender, who had again joined the attack, powered in a show from 25 yards which keeper Carl Ikeme did well to beat away.
Latics brought on Cristian Montano and Kirk Millar for Philliskirk and Jonson Clarke-Harris in the latter stages in which both sides had chances to win the game.
Dayton fired a dangerous ball across the face of goal which nobody could get on the end of while James Tarkowski's looped not far wide.
Wolves threw on Doyle and Griffiths and the latter had a fierce shot beaten out by Oxley as the game petered out into a draw which was a fair result.
Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Kusunga, Tarkowski, Grounds, Mellor; Philliskirk (Montano 72); Smith, Wesolowski, Dayton; Clarke-Harris (Millar 80), Rooney. Subs (not used): Brown, Schmeltz, Winchester, Rachubka, Bove.
Wolves (4-4-1-1): Ikeme; Ricketts, Stearman, Batth, Golbourne; Henry, Davis, Price (Doyle 60), Sako; Edwards; Cassidy (Griffiths 79). Subs (not used): Elokobi, Forde, Sigurdarson, Ebanks-Landell, McCarey.
The goals: Kusunga (2) for Latics. Golbourne (37) for Wolves.
Bookings: Wesolowski (88) for Latics. Cassidy (62), Ricketts (70) for Wolves.
Referee: Mr G Eltringham.
Attendance: 3,916 (831 visitors)