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Palace exit FA Cup

January 25 2014

Aaron Wilbraham

Aaron Wilbraham

Crystal Palace bowed out of the FA Cup after a 2-1 defeat at holders Wigan Athletic.

Club captain Paddy McCarthy made his first appearance for the Eagles since April 2012 after being sidelined for almost two years with a groin injury.

Championship side Wigan looked more threatening in the first half as James McClean, Callum McManaman and former Palace midfielder Ben Watson attempted shots on goal.

However, Jason Puncheon drew Wigan stopper Ali Al Habsi into an excellent save as Palace hit back.

But typically, it was Watson who was to score for the home team in the 36th minute with a side-foot into the corner - five years to the day Palace sold him to the Latics.

Shortly after, Jonathan Parr collided with McManaman in mid-air, and after lying motionless for eight minutes, he was stretchered off with his neck in a brace.

Speroni then made a decent save to deny McManaman just before half-time.

Palace almost got an equaliser after the interval when Al Habsi pushed Puncheon's strike over the bar.

Substitute Aaron Wilbraham equalised on 69 minutes - three minutes after coming on - stabbing over the line from close range after the Wigan defence couldn't clear Barry Bannan's corner.

It was only the striker's second goal in Palace colours with his previous one coming back in August 2012.

Fellow sub Dwight Gayle forced Al Habsi into tipping his strike around the post before McClean sent Wigan into the fifth round with a 78th minute goal.

Palace had penalty appeal late on after Gayle thought he was fouled in the box, while McClean fluffed a one-on-one opportunity as the Eagles crashed out of the cup.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Perch, Barnett, Boyce, Beausejour, Watson, Espinoza, McManaman (Fortune 74), McArthur (McCann 79), McLean, Maynard (Powell 74).

Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, McCarthy, Delaney, Parr (Moxey 45), Guedioura, O'Keefe, Bannan, Chamakh (Wilbraham 66), Puncheon, Jerome (Gayle 66).

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