Wigan Athletic needed an injury time goal to render Manchester City’s 2012/13 trophy hopes void, thanks to a Ben Watson’s header a minute into added time.
The goal sent the 23,000 Latics fans at the magnificent Wembley stadium into ecstasy as they watch their team clinch the first major trophy in their 91- year history.
It was the biggest FA Cup shock since Wimbledon beat Liverpool in 1988.
The outcome of the match depended on two decisive moments late in what had been a generally flat match. In the 84th minute, City right- back Pablo Zabaleta was sent off after collecting a second yellow card for a wayward tackle on man- of- the- match Callum McManaman.
Roberto Martinez capitalised on the one- man shortage and ordered his men to push forward; they did and created a series of set- piece openings.
With two of the three minutes of added time remaining, Shaun Maloney’s whipped- in- corner from the right was met by substitute Watson, who wrote himself into Wigan folklore by rising above Jack Rodwell and powering an unstoppable header past Joe Hart to stun the whole of a rain- soaked Wembley.
City had begun the match as strong favourites but this was a wretched display from the 2011 FA Cup champions. They were sluggish, ponderous and struggled to reach fighting shape throughout the match.
City began ominously, with Zabaleta threatening on the overlap and the Argentine front pair Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero looking dangerous.
But the sky blue pressure later vanished as Wigan, who had lost to City in the Premier League more than a week ago, began to settle in.
McManaman carved city defence open every time he twinkle- toed in from the wing, giving the run- around to Gael Clichy in particular.
Shaun Maloney’s sure touch and passing range helped the Latics keep the ball as they kept giving their best to the occasion.
On the contrary, City’s big guns were underperforming. Aguero and Tevez became increasingly frustrated up front; David Silva and Samir Nasri flitted in and out of the game, while Yaya Toure played deep to be a major attacking influence.
Martinez got his tactics right, soaking up City possession, confounding them with an unorthodox 3-4-1-2 formation and using McManaman’s pace and trickery to stretch the favourites on the counterattack.
After Zabaleta got his matching order, Wigan threw caution to the wind and went for the kill. With Watson making the decisive contribution 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute, his stoppage- time winner automatically takes its place as the greatest moment in his club’s mostly low- key history.
Wigan has never progressed beyond the quarter- finals before. Added to their victory was the knowledge of having beaten one of the most financially buoyant clubs in the world.
As no team has ever won the FA Cup final and be relegated the same season, Wigan will resume training tomorrow and spare some little celebration as they hope to battle out the remaining two games and hang on to the Premier League.