Josh Maja on target as Stoke knock former winners Wigan out of FA Cup

Stoke City v Wigan Athletic – Emirates FA Cup – Fourth Round – bet365 Stadium
(Image credit: Leila Coker)

Josh Maja and Jacob Brown scored as Stoke progressed to the FA Cup fifth round with a 2-0 win that ended Wigan’s 20-match unbeaten run.

The Potters, runners-up in the competition in 2011, started promisingly and nearly opened the scoring inside seven minutes, but Tyrese Campbell was unable to punish Jamie Jones’ poor clearance.

The home side’s early dominance was soon rewarded when debutant Maja – signed on loan from Bordeaux in midweek – secured a dream start to his Stoke career.

After a slip from Latics’ defender Jason Kerr, the Nigeria international had all the time in the world to compose himself and convert past Jones into the far corner.

Wigan, buoyed by a 4,000-strong away support, threatened an immediate equaliser, with a speculative effort from range by Max Power whistling narrowly wide of the target.

The visitors’ pursuit of a leveller continued throughout the remainder of the first period, with Josh Magennis spurning a glorious chance shortly before the interval.

After good work by Gwion Edwards, the Northern Ireland striker was slotted through on goal but skewed his strike harmlessly wide.

After the restart, Campbell saw an innovative guided effort go close as the home side looked to double their advantage.

Gavin Massey pounced on a slack Joe Allen pass and raced goalwards before testing Joe Bursik with a tame effort – the Stoke stopper’s first action of the afternoon.

The travelling 4,025 thought they had their elusive leveller shortly after the hour mark but Tom Bayliss’ powerful free-kick from an acute angle clipped the crossbar.

Yet it was the Potters who struck next with Brown – only on the field for less than two minutes – finishing accurately into the far corner to land the Latics a knockout blow.

However, the visitors’ spirit was undeterred, with substitute Steven Humphrys nearly benefiting from pinball in the area, but his poked effort was blocked on the line.

Wigan’s 20-match unbeaten run then appeared destined to end as Edwards was shown a second yellow card after a late lunging challenge on goalscorer Brown.

The 10-man Sky Bet League One outfit then struggled to cope with a late barrage of Stoke attacks, with Kerr making amends for his earlier mistake when he blocked Josh Tymon’s goalbound effort.

Michael O’Neill’s side searched for a late third to try and repeat their 3-0 victory when the two sides last met in the FA Cup in 2003, but their efforts were fruitless.

Substitute Steven Fletcher struck the crossbar with a powerful strike from close range while Brown was denied a second by heroics from keeper Jones.

Winners of the competition in 2013, Wigan were denied passage to the fifth round by a Stoke side who progress to their furthest stage of the FA Cup since 2015.

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