WIGAN Robin Park crashed out of the FA Cup at a rain-soaked Delta Taxis Stadium on Saturday where they went down 2-0 against Bootle.
The North West Counties Premier Division side proved too strong in the first half as they dominated possession and went into the break two goals to the good.
On a difficult uneven surface, good football was at a premium and the Robins struggled to play their natural passing game and reverted to the long ball game too often.
With the Robins midfield being largely redundant it was only a matter of time before Bootle would score.
As it was, it took 34 minutes before a long free-kick found the head of their captain Jamie Hay who beat Robins’ centre-half to the ball to fire home from eight yards.
Bootle almost doubled the scoreline moments later when Jay Foulds denied Kevin Black with a fine save.
With the game approaching half-time, the Robins suffered a killer blow when full back Mike Wood was adjudged to have fouled Liam Rushton in the box.
It was a harsh decision as there appeared to be little contact as Wood ushered the ball out of play. But the penalty was given and Black fired the spot-kick home.
A half-time dressing down from Wigan manager John Neafcy ensured the team came out battling and – for the next 45 minutes – they were by far the better side.
Unfortunately, although Phil Howard and Shaun Judge both went close it was only in the last ten minutes that the Robins truly threatened.
Substitutes Dean Callaway and Mark Westwood both carved open The Bucks defence but their teasing crosses eluded Howard and McNally as they threw everything at the home side.
However it wasn’t to be and Bootle’s shaken defence held on to progress to the next round.
Disappointed manager Neafcy said: “I could make excuses about the terrible pitch and a dubious penalty decision but we lost the game because – for whatever reason – we didn’t turn up in the first half.
“Even so, they only had a couple of chances and in the second half we were much better but we didn’t get the breaks.
“We’ve just got to dust ourselves down and get back to winning ways in the league.”
The Robins return to North West Counties Division One action this Saturday, August 27.
They travel to Norton United for an early-season top-of-the-table clash.