Wigan Athletic boss reacts to Sutton United penalty shoot-out heartache

Leam Richardson put on a brave face after watching Wigan Athletic fall at the last hurdle before Wembley as League Two Sutton United reached the final of the Papa John's Trophy.
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Honours ended even after 90 minutes, with James McClean equalising Will Randall's opening goal for Sutton.

The visitors gave as good as they got, with Joe Kizzi hitting the post, and Jamie Jones having to make a couple of big saves.

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REPORT: Wigan Athletic 1 Sutton United 1 (Sutton win 7-6 on penalties)
Josh Magennis consoles Tendayi Darikwa after his penalty miss against SuttonJosh Magennis consoles Tendayi Darikwa after his penalty miss against Sutton
Josh Magennis consoles Tendayi Darikwa after his penalty miss against Sutton
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Latics threw on Max Power, Will Keane and Gwion Edwards for the final quarter, but it wasn't enough to tip the balance.

Power then missed Latics' first spot-kick in the shoot-out, although Jones saved the next one from Sutton to restore parity.

Graeme Shinnie, Keane, McClean, Josh Magennis and Jamie McGrath then scored theirs, only for Tendayi Darikwa to miss Latics' seventh penalty which sent Sutton to Wembley.

"I'm obviously disappointed for the players and the fans," acknowledged Richardson.

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"When you get that close to Wembley, you can taste it, and that makes it tougher to take.

"But let's not take anything away from Sutton, we congratulate them and we wish them well.

"We expected a tough team, they're very well drilled and they're going well in the league.

"I thought we grew into the game, in the second half we got into some good areas, and if we're being critical we might have been a bit better with that.

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"But when it gets to penalties, it's obviously a bit of a lottery and they've hung on for the last 15-20 minutes to take it to penalties.

"We respected the competition, we put out a strong side, and we wanted to win the game.

"The lads who weren't selected weren't fit, there was no clever edge to the selection, it was the strongest side we had available."

The Latics boss also took full responsibility for the penalty-taking order.

"I decided the order, no-one else," he said.

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"You've got 11 to choose from, you ask them who wants to take one, and you come up with an order within that.

"Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong.

"I congratulate any player who is brave enough to step up and take a penalty, whatever the outcome.

"Nobody goes out to miss a penalty, and we've won three shoot-outs already this season."

The post-match press conference was delayed while Richardson sprinted over to the temporary changing rooms under the East Stand to present the victors with a bottle of champagne.

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"Someone's just said I was more magnanimous than they would have been, and I didn't know what it means!" he added.

"I just think it's about manners, for Sutton to get to Wembley, it's a great achievement, and we need to show class and say 'well done'.

"In professional sport, sometimes you can work as hard as you can and it's just not your day.

"Tonight it was somebody else's day, and you've just got to respect that."

Sutton will play the winners of the other semi-final between Rotherham and Hartlepool.