WIGAN ATHLETIC 1 CREWE ALEXANDRA 0Michael Jacobs’ first goal for the club secured back-to-back home wins for Latics, in a hard fought victory over Crewe Alexandra.
Both sides hit the woodwork in an open contest, but Latics held firm to ensure they maintained their unbeaten start at home in the league this season.
Latics made three changes to the side which lost away at Gillingham last week, with Jason Pearce coming into the side to make his first appearance of the season in place of Chris McCann.
Jonjoe Kenny and Max Power also came back into the line-up, in place of Francisco Junior and Kevin McNaughton.
Caldwell’s men made a bright start to the contest in a flowing game, with both sides eager to move the ball around the pitch.
It was Latics who created the first chance of the contest in the fifth minute, when Will Grigg latched on to Reece James’ cross from the left hand side, to force a good save from Ben Garratt from close range.
The visitors were providing a good test for Caldwell’s men however and went close themselves on the ten minute mark through Ollie Turton, who forced a good save from Richard O’Donnell with his effort from the edge of the penalty area.
Latics kept up their tempo however, and took the lead just two minutes later through Michael Jacobs, who scored his first for the club when he latched on to Max Power’s corner from the left hand side and headed the ball home unchallenged from close range.
The visitors were undeterred by the opening goal, and were desperately close to drawing level in the 17th minute through Bradden Inman, who slammed his effort against the post from range.
Both sides were looking dangerous going forward, and Michael Jacobs almost doubled his goal tally seven minutes later, when he produced a great run past two men into the area, before being denied when one-on-one by the charging Garratt.
Latics were starting to assert, and went close again in the 27th minute from Jonjoe Kenny, who was released on the right after good play by Jacobs to spread the ball wide, before slamming the ball straight at Garratt.
The wing backs were causing plenty of trouble for the visitors to deal with, and Reece James looked dangerous himself on the half hour mark, when he just failed to pick out Will Grigg with a clever low ball into the penalty area.
Jacobs was on fire, and the winger went close yet again after 33 minutes, when he was released from deep by Kenny, before running through and forcing another good save from Garratt to keep his side’s lead at just the one goal.
Crewe Alexandra continued to be a teasing presence in the contest, and had a nice move of their own four minutes later, when Stephen Kingsley fizzed the ball at O’Donnell after good play down the left hand side.
The goalkeeper was level to it however, and produced a good save to ensure that his side went into the interval in front.
Latics are making a habit of firing out of the traps in the second half, and the early enthusiasm almost paid dividends once again through Michael Jacobs, who played a clever one-two with Will Grigg, before stinging the hands of Garratt from 25 yards with his low strike.
Caldwell’s side continued to look bright early on, and were incredibly unlucky not to double their advantage just four minutes after the restart, when Grigg latched on to Craig Davies’ cross from the left and cannoned his header against the near post.
Davies tried to get into the act six minutes after the restart, when he produced a nice touch on the edge of the area before firing the ball harmlessly over the crossbar.
The visitors continued to be undeterred by Latics’ dominance however, and continued to play their own game throughout the contest, with some nice pieces of play moving forward.
Caldwell’s men were forced to dig in slightly on the hour mark, as Crewe tried to find a way past Latics’ resolute back line, which was dealing well with the sustained pressure.
There were still pieces of brilliance going forward however, which was demonstrated by Will Grigg on 65 minutes, who managed to release himself on the break with a header, before slotting in Craig Davies – who couldn’t quite muster an effort on goal after facing heavy pressure from the visiting defence.
Crewe continued to threaten going forward, and substitute Lauri Dalla Valle highlighted their intent when he headed narrowly wide of O’Donnell’s goal just a minute later.
Gary Caldwell took action twenty minutes from time, and introduced Jordan Flores and Sean Murray into the contest, with the former coming on to make his home league debut for his hometown club.
The visitors continued to press forward in sustained periods of possession, but Caldwell’s men held firm, to secure back-to-back home wins with a hard fought three points.