York City 0 Wigan Athletic 1: Stephen Humphrys ends FA Cup dream for Minstermen in thick fog
When non-league underdogs do battle with EFL opponents, it is hoped by neutrals that the gulf is not painfully obvious. It was anything but on an icy Yorkshire evening as York successfully stifled Wigan for large spells.
The Minstermen showed admirable grit but a Tyler Cordner error allowed Stephen Humphrys to notch a second-half winner.
York were patient in the early stages, putting bodies behind the ball when out of possession. More often than not, the Minstermen bit into challenges at the right time, preventing Wigan breaking down their rigid banks.
In possession, they looked to advance quickly and were bold in their attacking endeavours. Scott Burgess made an early burst into the box but a clumsy touch ensured the angle he shot from was too tight. Thierry Latty-Fairweather also made an incisive dart into the box, although was met by a sea of Wigan bodies and saw his effort blocked.
Despite York’s best efforts to suffocate Wigan’s attacking contingent, the quality of the visitors began to rear its head more frequently as the first-half progressed. Humphrys was particularly lively and was unlucky to be denied by David Stockdale on two occasions in quick succession.
Stockdale also thwarted Callum Lang, who had rounded the goalkeeper but hesitated before attempting to pull back for his advancing teammates, allowing the stopper to recover.
There were appeals for a York penalty with the half-time whistle approaching, but the referee did not believe Baba Adeeko had handled the ball inside the box. Despite fleeting glimpses of League One quality from the visitors, the first-half was brought to a close with the sides still level.
Neither side emerged from the interval at pace but intensity eventually started to creep in. Frustratingly for the hosts, it was an individual error that allowed Wigan to break the deadlock on the hour mark.
A seemingly innocuous header forward was misjudged by Cordner, allowing Humphrys to race in behind and slot into an empty net after rounding Stockdale.
It threatened to worsen for the hosts and the home fans were relieved to see Stockdale see yellow after appearing to handle the ball outside his box. They were less pleased with the referee when he opted not to point to the spot as red bodies insisted Omar Rekik had handled the ball after a corner delivery.
York committed bodies forward as the final whistle approached and they came close to getting back on level terms through Maz Kouhyar. The substitute sent a vicious shot towards goal but Sam Tickle was able to tip over the crossbar. Lennell John-Lewis headed wide in the dying embers and it proved to be York’s final genuine opportunity of the evening.