Wigan manager Gary Caldwell was left bitterly disappointed after his side missed the chance of another trip to Wembley, losing to Barnsley in the northern area semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Latics twice fell behind in the game to goals from Adam Hammill and Ivan Toney, though Will Grigg equalised on both occasions to send the tie to a shootout.
But missed spot kicks from Craig Davies and David Perkins meant the home team were left empty handed and missed out on a final against Fleetwood or Morecambe.
“It is hugely disappointing for everybody,” said Caldwell, left ruing the opportunity of reaching his first final as Wigan boss and potentially claiming his first silverware in management.
“There are not many times in your life that you get the opportunity to win a trophy and, not only that, win one at playing a stadium like Wembley and we have let that opportunity pass us by.
“It is a disappointed dressing room but I said to them that you, more often than not, get what you deserve in football and we didn’t deserve to win the game.”
On why his side didn’t deserve to win the game, Caldwell continued:
“We started OK, should have had a penalty but then we allowed them far too many opportunities, too many corners and then we didn’t create enough in forward areas.
“We need to be better; we have said that in recent weeks and I will say it again today, we have to holds our hands up and we cannot hide behind other teams coming and playing well, because every team that has come here season has raised their game and we have to deal with that.
“We have to raise our own standards, our own performances and be better with the ball because there were too many simple ones that we gave away and put ourselves under pressure.”
The manager will now have to try and pick up his players before a home game against struggling Blackpool on Saturday followed by another game with Barnsley, this time at Oakwell.
“The league has always been the main focus but we said we wanted to do well in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, we’ve ultimately failed and we have to regroup now,” Caldwell said.
“We now focus all of our attention on League One and have to work hard to achieve our goal of promotion.”
One positive on a tough day was Grigg’s double, the striker grabbing his first goals since October’s win at Peterborough United.
“I thought Will was outstanding,” said Caldwell. “He has been great all week, has worked really hard and again it proves the point that you get what you deserve in football because he got his just rewards.”
Image courtesy of Wigan Athletic via YouTube, with thanks.