London: Wigan Athletic scored three times in four wild minutes on Saturday to stun Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park and reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in the club's 81-year history. The visitors, facing another relegation battle in the Premier League and underdogs in this quarter-final, had effectively booked their place in the last four after 34 minutes with goals from Maynor Figueroa, Callum McManaman and Jordi Gomez.
Defender Figueroa headed Wigan in front in the 30th minute, former Everton schoolboy McManaman capitalised on Phil Neville's mistake to double the lead 90 seconds later, and Gomez, the Spanish midfielder, made it three with an exquisite shot from 20 metres.
Everton, five-times winners of England's premier cup competition and runners-up in 2009, were booed off at halftime by their disbelieving fans. Manchester City are aiming to join Wigan in the semi-finals when they host Barnsley of the Championship (second division) later on Saturday. On Sunday, Millwall face Blackburn Rovers in an all-Championship tie and Manchester United meet Chelsea in the remaining sixth-round match.
Both semi-finals will take place at Wembley on the weekend of April 13 and 14. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said: "I thought the performance was outstanding, from the keeper all the way through; to come to Goodison Park, to be able to score three goals and keep a clean sheet speaks volumes.
"I think we deserve a little bit of credit, we stopped them from being dangerous," he told ITV Sport. "We knew when to keep the ball, when to go forward, and we looked a real threat every time we got into the final third."
Wigan's appearance in the semi-final at Wembley will be a poignant one for their chairman, Dave Whelan. Whelan was 23 when he broke his leg at the famous stadium while playing for Blackburn in the 1960 FA Cup final against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves won 3-0 and the injury ended Whelan's top-flight playing career.
Now 76, Whelan was on his feet in celebration at Goodison Park as his team skipped past Everton in their first Cup quarter-final since 1987. The hosts were so poor in the first half it was hard to believe they are sixth in the Premier League table.
David Moyes was hoping to mark nearly 11 years in charge at Everton with a third FA Cup semi-final in five seasons, but his side produced their worst performance of the season.
Wigan midfielder Shaun Maloney gave them fair warning after 11 minutes, cutting in from the left and bending a right-foot shot from the edge of the area on to Jan Mucha's post.
Mucha, the Slovakian keeper standing in for the injured Tim Howard, was offered little protection by his defenders. On the half-hour Figueroa was unchallenged at a corner and he headed home the opener at the far post.
Neville then misplaced a simple pass in midfield, allowing McManaman to advance on goal and clip a neat finish past Mucha. Wigan, though, were not finished, and their third was the best of the lot. Striker Arouna Kone fed Gomez from the byline and Gomez opened the face of his left foot to stroke a low, curling effort into the bottom corner.
Everton improved after the break but it was not until injury time that they seriously threatened Wigan's goal, Joel Robles saving sharply from Leon Osman.