Wigan Athletic have a date with destiny, thanks to Shaun Malony and Callum McMannaman. In the first -- and less feted -- FA Cup semifinal of the weekend, Millwall proved no match for the Latics, who produced an assured attacking display to take the lead and then absorbed everything the Lions could throw at them in the second half. The 2-0 win means that Roberto Martinez and company are through to the club's first-ever FA Cup final.
Although the match opened in entertaining fashion, with Millwall pushing their Premier League opposition, Wigan soon assumed control of the match and started putting pressure on David Fordes goal. Forde was quickly forced into a smart save by Callum McMannaman, who was proving tough to keep track of, but the goalkeeper was left helpless by a combination of Arouna Kone and Maloney in the 25th minute.
With Maloney's run untracked by Mark Beevers, Kone did superbly to wriggle clear of his attending defenders and play in a superb ball over the top, leaving his partner in crime to finish off with a controlled volley. And that's when the game died -- the Latics were clearly on top and left Millwall with basically no room to maneouvre, happily holding onto possession and looking threatening whenever they bothered pushing up the pitch.
The underdogs, save for a brief spell near the hour mark, never looked likely to claw their way back into the match. Andy Keogh came close to converting Alan Dunne's low cross before Beevers somehow contrived to put a close-range header off the ground and over the crossbar. Michael Oliver then did the Lions no favours when he ignored their claims for a penalty despite Paul Schnarner appearing to handle in the box.
Millwall's brief period of control was over within ten minutes, however. Wigan were on cruise control, and they finally killed things off for good with 12 minutes to go, Jordi Gomez providing the key pass when he paused near the edge of the box and played in McMannaman. There was plenty for the young winger to do, but he rounded Forde and slotted in from a tight angle with aplomb, ensuring that the Latics would be making another Wembley appearance. Easy enough.
Since Wigan didn't bring enough fans to fight against, a (small) selection of Millwall's supporters reacted to their loss by getting into a massed brawl with each other, and then the police. At least they'll have something to remember their FA Cup run by now -- although it's difficult to imagine the saner elements of the fanbase reacting positively to their club's reputation taking another very public blow.