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Match Reports

Wolves v Latics

19 November 2013

A magical cup night for Latics


Could Latics' wonderful win at Wolves be the start of another remarkable adventure in the FA Cup with Budweiser?

Goals from Danny Philliskirk and Adam Rooney secured victory at Molineux for Latics in a memorable in a first-round replay.

There was nothing lucky about the cup success as Latics would have triumphed by an even wider margin had their finishing been more clinical.

Incredibly they created 18 goal attempts away to the Sky Bet League 1 leaders who managed 13 while Latics also edged possession taking 51-per-cent.

Latics' official partner Sky Bet will be counting the cost as they gave odds of 9/2 for them to triumph – little hope in a two-horse race.

And Latics sadly won;t be in for a bumper pay day apart from the £18,000 prize money. The crowd at a near-empty Molineux was 4,226, the first time in 27 years it has dipped below 5,000 for a first-team fixture.

Manager Lee Johnson said: "I am really happy. The result was not only excellent, but also our general play and our management of the game which was played on our terms.

"Our boys have grown up and since the defeat at Crawley, which was our lowest ebb, and the players have started to get in tune with each other which is important.

"Our patterns, movement, defending and balance is so much better than it was. It is no fluke because we have spent a lot of time working on it."

Latics' manager described it as an excellent team performance saying Philliskirk could have scored a hat trick while he was impressed with the distribution and workrate of James Wesolowski and Anton Rodgers in the centre of midfield while Genseric Kusunga, he added, is getting better with every game.

And with his squad almost free from injury, Johnson says competition for places will become even more intense which he says is important with a demanding fixture schedule ahead.

Johnson pointed to the front line where Philliskirk and Jonson Clarke-Harris are keeping out Rooney out of the side while Kirk Millar and Charlie MacDonald are set to return.

"With them hopefully on fire, we are now looking potent up front as well as defensively sound as I ought to have 11 defenders available on Saturday," he explained.

Johnson added it is important to kick on in the league where form has been patchy compared to their exploits in two cup competitions.

"I think I will have to get in a witch doctor to rid us of the hoodoo which seems to be stopping us in the league. We cannot relax because, if you do, football quickly gives you a slap around the face," he said.

Johnson recalled Mark Oxley in goal and David Mellor at left back while the fit-again James Wesolowski was restored to midfield.

The players to lose out were goalkeeper Paul Rachubka, centre-back Jonathan Ground who was suspended and left-back Joseph Mills who was ineligible.

Captain Korey was needed as cover at right back so Anton Rodgers continued in the centre of midfield alongside Wesolowski.

Korey, supporting the attack, slid a slide-rule pass to put Philliskirk clean through in the eighth minute only for keeper Carl Ikeme to save well. The ball rebounded to Cristian Montano who blazed over.

Latics' keeper Oxley then had to be alert to turn s shot from Kevin McDonald round the post for a corner.

The breakthrough came in the 21st minute after Clarke-Harris, bundled off the ball, hit the 25-yard free kick at Ikeme who initially held the ball only for him to then allow it to slip from his grasp in slow motion as Philliskirk prodded home from inside the six-yard box.

Referee Keith Stroud appeared hesitant whether to allow the goal possibly thinking Philliskirk kicked the ball out of the keeper's hand. And it took a glance to his assistant before he pointed to the centre circle for a restart and confirm his seventh goal of the season.

Jake Cassidy and Leigh Griffiths had half chances for Wolves, but Oxley's goal was never seriously threatened while James Tarkowski, celebrating his 21st birthday, could have doubled the lead as he headed narrowly over from a Rodgers corner.

Latics, 1-0 ahead at the break, started the second half on the front foot creating a succession of scoring chances.

Montano produced a superb turn to beat substitute Sam Ricketts only to be denied by Ikeme who also thwarted Philliskirk for a second time when he was clean through.

Scotland international Leigh Griffiths had a couple of goal attempts, one was saved by Oxley, the other just cleared the crossbar.

Philliskirk produced a piece of magic on the right of the box before firing against the far upright.

Latics were not to be denied as substitute Rooney, who replaced Clarke-Harris six minutes earlier, struck after being set up by Sidney Schmeltz.

Rooney, free on the right of the box, fired into the far corner from the edge of the area.

It looked as though Latics were home and dry until they twice switched off in the four minutes of stoppage time as Wolves could so easily have wiped out the deficit.

Griffiths cut in from the right and struck a super shot which struck the far upright.

And right at the death, Wolves halved the deficit as Griffiths scored his 11th goal of the season.

Richard Stearman fired over a free kick from the left which Latics failed to clear as Griffiths was left completely free in front of goal to rifle home a shot.

It was sad Latics conceded so late, the only blot on the night, as they had defended so well and deserved a shutout.

Wolves (4-4-2): Ikeme; Ebanks-Landell (Ismail 46), Stearman, Batth, Elokobi (Ricketts 46); Sigurdarson (Evans 69), McDonald, Price, Golbourne; Cassidy, Griffiths. Subs (not used): Flatt, Davis, Foley, Keita.

Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Smith, Kusunga, Tarkowski, Mellor (Lanzoni 75); Dayton, Rodgers, Wesolowski, Montano (Schmeltz 63); Clarke-Harris (Rooney 67), Philliskirk. Subs (not used): Rachubka, MacDonald, Clarke, Pritchard.

The goals: Griffiths (90+4) for Wolves. Philliskirk (21), Rooney (73) for Latics.

Bookings: Elokobi (20), Stearman (36), Price (75) for Wolves. Schmeltz (78), Rodgers (86), Dayton (90+4) for Latics.

Referee: Mr K Stroud.

Attendance: 4,226 (376 visitors)

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