Wigan Athletic delivered one of the FA Cup's greatest shocks as they beat Manchester City in the Wembley final thanks to substitute Ben Watson's 89th minute header.

City, reduced to 10 men after Pablo Zabaleta's red card, were undone when Shaun Maloney's inswinging corner was nodded past Joe Hart for a result to rival Sunderland's triumph over Leeds in 1973 and Wimbledon's 1988 win against Liverpool.

The first major trophy in Wigan's history, celebrations will be on hold as they bid to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League with two games remaining.

Wigan had not beaten City since September 2008 yet were worthy winners in the best FA Cup final since 2006.

Pockmarked by nearly 4,000 empty seats in the corporate sections and third tier, the new Wembley has hosted some stultifying finals since its first in 2007, but the 2013 showpiece was a stimulating start.

ben watson

Watson's header beats Hart in the 89th minute


City began ominously as Wigan exposed their Cup final nerves by conceding an early for a foul on Sergio Agüero free-kick. Carlos Tévez's effort careered into the wall, but Joel Robles had to parry Yaya Touré's rebound snap shot. The offside flag which scuppered City's hopes of continuing the attack was greeted uproariously by the Latics' following.

Having survived the early scare, Wigan began to confidently assert themselves, with their attacking triumvirate creating the first outstanding chance of the game. Arouna Koné found Callum McManaman with a neat ball inside the area, but the FA Cup specialist opted against shooting on his stronger foot to cut inside, and his left-footed drive was wayward.

Gaël Clichy, facing McManaman for the first time, was regularly embarrassed by the 22-year-old eager to continue his love affair with the competition. However he was as mesmerising as he was mercurial, a knack which would prove critical later on in the match.

Prior the half-hour mark Joel needed every inch of his 6 ft 5 in frame to deny Tévez when David Silva's pull back fell into the path of the Argentine. Tévez's 10-yard strike was mishit, but the ball flicked off Joel's boot and crept over the bar as the stadium held its breath

Seven minutes later it was City fans' turn to be anxious when Roger Espinoza was brought down by Zabaleta. What should have been a red card and a penalty was erroneously overlooked by referee Andre Marriner, who this week revealed he cried when informed he would be refereeing the final. He may have shed tears when looking at the replay of Zabaleta's challenge.

City didn't heed the warning and moments later McManaman was one-on-one with Hart. The winger evaded the England goalkeeper and deceived the panicky City defenders in the area, but rather than assist Koné his greedy goal-bound effort was blocked.

Joel parried a speculative Samir Nasri shot towards the end of one of the most absorbing goalless halves in recent memory, with Roberto Mancini struggling to contain his exasperation on the touchline, in contrast to his satisfied namesake Martínez.

Mancini re-emerged early for the second 45 to sign autographs. City fans hollered his name a number of times prior to kick-off in what was a deliberate show of support, as rumours mount Manuel Pellegrini could replace him this summer.

His team began the second-half as positively as they had the first. Sergio Agüero was thwarted by the diligent Emerson Boyce, when the Wigan captain blocked his near post shot after Tévez left Paul Scharner with twisted blood.

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  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Wigan chairman Dave Whelan kisses the trophy following his team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Goalscorer Ben Watson and Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez celebrate with the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez celebrates victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Goalscorer Ben Watson and Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez celebrate with the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Manager Roberto Martinez of Wigan Athletic is thrown into the air by his players following their team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: (L-R) Manager Roberto Martinez of Wigan Athletic and Wigan chairman Dave Whelan celebrate with the trophy following his team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Wigan chairman Dave Whelan celebrates with the trophy following his team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: (L-R) Manager Roberto Martinez of Wigan Athletic and Wigan chairman Dave Whelan celebrate with the trophy following his team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez and Wigan Athletic Chairman Dave Whelan celebrate victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Wembley Stadium

    Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez and winning goalscorer Ben Watson (left) pose with the trophy following their victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final

  • Wigan Athletic's players celebrate their win against Manchester City at the end of their English FA Cup final soccer match at Wembley Stadium, London, Saturday, May 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

  • Wigan Athletic's players celebrate their win against Manchester City at the end of their English FA Cup final soccer match at Wembley Stadium, London, Saturday, May 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce of Wigan Athletic celebrates with team mates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce of Wigan Athletic celebrates with team mates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce (17) of Wigan Athletic celebrates with chairman Dave Whelan following their team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce (L) and Gary Caldwell (R) of Wigan Athletic lift the trophy following their team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Chairman Dave Whelan of Wigan Athletic looks on following his team's 1-0 victory alongside FA chairman David Bernstein after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce and Gary Caldwell of Wigan Athletic celebrate with team mates as they lift the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Roberto Martinez manager of Wigan Athletic celebrates with chairman Dave Whelan following their team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Chairman Dave Whelan of Wigan Athletic looks on following his team's 1-0 victory alongside FA chairman David Bernstein after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez celebrates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Manager Roberto Martinez of Wigan Athletic lifts the trophy following his team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce of Wigan Athletic celebrates with team mates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce and Gary Caldwell of Wigan Athletic celebrate with team mates as they lift the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Dejected Carlos Tevez of Manchester City after defeat in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce of Wigan Athletic celebrates with team mates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Manager Roberto Martinez of Wigan Athletic lifts the trophy following his team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce of Wigan Athletic celebrates with team mates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce of Wigan Athletic celebrates with team mates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Manager Roberto Martinez of Wigan Athletic (R) celebrates victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Manager Roberto Martinez of Wigan Athletic celebrates victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Goalscorer Ben Watson of Wigan Athletic celebrates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Arouna Kone of Wigan Athletic celebrates with team mates after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Franco Di Santo and Joel Robles of Wigan Athletic celebrate as they lift the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Goalscorer Ben Watson of Wigan Athletic celebrates as he lifts the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Franco Di Santo and Joel Robles of Wigan Athletic celebrate as they lift the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Roger Espinoza of Wigan Athletic celebrates victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce and Gary Caldwell of Wigan Athletic celebrate with team mates as they lift the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce and Gary Caldwell of Wigan Athletic celebrate with team mates as they lift the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Arouna Kone of Wigan Athletic (R) celebrates victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Shaun Maloney of Wigan Athletic celebrates victory after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Wigan players celebrate following their team's 1-0 victory during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce and Gary Caldwell of Wigan Athletic celebrate with team mates as they lift the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Final

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Emmerson Boyce and Gary Caldwell of Wigan Athletic celebrate with team mates as they lift the trophy after victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Wembley Stadium

    Wigan Athletic goalkeepers Michael Pollitt (right) and Ali Al Habsi (left) celebrate winning the FA Cup with teammate Joel Robles (centre)

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Wembley Stadium

    Wigan Athletic's Ben Watson (second right) is mobbed by team-mates and staff, after the final whistle

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Wembley Stadium

    Wigan Athletic players celebrate winning the FA Cup as the final whistle blows

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Wembley Stadium

    Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart stands dejected after conceding the winning goal, scored by Wigan Athletic's Ben Watson

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Wembley Stadium

    Wigan Athletic players celebrate winning the FA Cup as the final whistle blows

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Wembley Stadium

    Wigan Athletic's Ben Watson (centre) is mobbed by team-mates as he celebrates scoring the winning goal

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Wembley Stadium

    Wigan Athletic's Ben Watson (centre) is mobbed by team-mates as he celebrates scoring the winning goal


Samir Nasri, who has thrived since Mancini's public rollocking in March, departed for James Milner and barely acknowledged his manager as he returned to the bench. With the conservative Milner now on, Yaya Touré was granted licence to roam forward.

Agüero was furious when Marriner refused to give a penalty after Paul Scharner tripped him over, although the controversy was minimised when replays showed the striker was in an offside position, even if the flag was not raised.

Zabaleta, whose characteristic forays forward were conspicuous by their absence, finally burst into Wigan's box and produced an inviting cross into the corridor of uncertainty, alas none of his teammates were certain enough with the timing of their runs.

After a quiet spell it was the ebullient McManaman who raised Wigan fans' spirits, humiliating Clichy again, only his shot was delayed and Gareth Barry kept the game scoreless.

Milner tested Joel with a firm header which the on-loan Spaniard held before McManaman caused consternation in City's third again as he drew a foul from Matija Nastasić, who was booked. Shaun Maloney pinged the top of Hart's crossbar from the resultant free-kick, although the effort was notably overcooked.

Then Zabaleta's luck ran out. All of City's bookings had come from challenges on McManaman, and Zabaleta, having already tripped the Citizens' nemesis on the hour mark, executed a scything challenge on the former Everton schoolboy and became the third man to be red-carded in an FA Cup semi-final, after Kevin Moran in 1985 and José Antonio Reyes in 2005.

With City now edging back deeper and deeper, man of the match McManaman continued to wreak havoc. Granted a corner rather than a penalty for Clichy's challenge, Maloney stepped up to swing in what will be remembered as the most wondrous moment in Wigan's history. Watson stooped imperiously to flick on a superb header for one of the FA Cup's greatest shocks.