Andy Delort on target as Latics win 1-0 against Walsall.
- Delort scores third in two games to seal 1-0 win.
- Latics win third in a row after Walsall victory.
- Seven first team players involved for Latics.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Latics continued their good recent form at Christopher Park with a 1-0 victory against Walsall as Andy Delort scored his third in two Development Squad games to find the crucial goal on a bitterly cold afternoon.
Joe Parkinson had seven first team players at his disposal for the clash with the Saddlers, as Delort, Oriol Riera, James Tavernier, William Kvist, Rob Kiernan, Don Cowie and Thomas Rogne were all watched on by manager Malky Mackay.
Delort's goal came on the stroke of half time, with the narrow victory sealed through heavy spells of possession. Chances were created in the second half, but Walsall's goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray denied Latics on a number of occasions.
Latics carved out early chances for Matthew Hamilton, Delort and Riera, but a few narrow misses and a couple of good saves kept the scores level.
At the other end it was Tavernier preventing an opening goal, sliding in last ditch to deny Mal Benning at the left post from James O'Connor's driven cross into the box.
Connor Keane was also on hand to deny Mathieu Manset just before Latics' crucial goal. Manset sprinted in behind, but Keane denied the striker with a solid one-footed stop.
Two minutes later and Delort had the ball in the back of the net with simplicity, a run across the inside edge of the area and a left footed shot across the keeper.
Latics made three changes in the second half as Michael Wilson, Tim Chow and Declan Poole were all introduced for Thomas Rogne, Don Cowie and Ryan Jennings.
Poole and Chow almost combined for a second goal late in the half, with Delort breaking from the edge of his own area, feeding Poole down the left who nearly picked out Chow arriving at the right post, only for a vital Walsall touch taking it behind for a corner.
Delort had an effort of his own almost find the net in the closing stages, another solo run down the left, cutting inside and thumping an effort inches past the post.
Riera's attempt was to be the final act of the game, shifting the ball neatly between his feet in the area, before being denied by a superb save from MacGillivray.
Latics saw out the 90 minutes to record their third straight victory in all competitions, pushing them further up the Final Third Development League West.
Latics: Keane, Tavernier, Balogun, Cowie (Chow 60), Rogne (Wilson 60), Kiernan, Jennings (Poole 65), Kvist, Delort, Riera, Hamilton
Unused sub: Evans
Walsall: MacGillivray, O'Connor, Henry, Rowley, Preston, Flanagan, Kinsella, Clifford, Manset, Morris, Benning