WIGAN ATHLETIC 0 LEEDS UNITED 1A second half strike from Alex Mowatt was enough to give Leeds all three points in a pulsating game at the DW Stadium.
Latics had their chances to win it themselves, but Mowatt’s goal just five minutes into the second half was enough to seal the win for the Yorkshire outfit.
There was a special atmosphere around the DW Stadium before the game, as departing chairman Dave Whelan came onto the pitch to say goodbye to the fans, after twenty fabulous years at the helm.
Malky Mackay made just one change from the side who battled to victory at Carrow Road on Wednesday, with loan star Sheyi Ojo returning to the line-up in place of Leon Clarke.
Latics have shown a strong battling nature in the last few weeks, and today was no different, with passion and fierce tussles for every single ball visible from the beginning of the encounter.
As a result the contest was rather cagey for the opening fifteen minutes, with neither side producing a definitive effort in front of goal, despite Latics looking particularly lively down the wings.
The first chance fell to the visitors on the quarter of the hour mark, when Billy Sharp built on just missing Morison’s cross to feed Alex Mowatt, who couldn’t hit the target on the edge of the area.
Latics slowly grew into the game and began to cause trouble down both flanks, with Sheyi Ojo catching the eye with his pace and enthusiasm.
The Liverpool loanee produced the hosts’ first opportunity of the game on 22 minutes, when the winger cut in from the right hand side and flashed in and effort, which looked like a cross but swung just wide of Silvestri’s far post.
Wigan Athletic continued to press in an open first half of very few opportunities, with Marc-Antoine Fortune, James McClean and Jermaine Pennant all joining Ojo in fighting the cause up top, but the contest was goalless at the interval.
Malky Mackay’s men looked buoyed after the break, and were desperately unlucky not to take the lead within the opening two minutes of the restart, with two early opportunities for the enthusiastic hosts.
The first fell to substitute Don Cowie, who was left appealing for a penalty when he was released down the left hand side of the area in the opening seconds of the half, only for his effort to be blocked by the sliding challenge of Giuseppe Bellusci, to calls for a penalty from the home support.
Referee Geoff Eltringham opted to award Wigan Athletic a corner, from which the hosts were desperately unlucky not to break the deadlock through James McClean.
Sheyi Ojo acted quickly from a shortly taken corner and fizzed a low cross in the direction of McClean, whose first time effort required an excellent save from Marco Silvestri to keep the scores level.
Leeds United soon started to look dangerous themselves, and took the lead five minutes into the half, with a fortuitous deflection led to the ball rolling into the path of Alex Mowatt on the edge of the area, who curled the ball past Scott Carson.
Latics responded well to falling behind, and were desperately unlucky not to equalise on two occasions within three minutes through Marc-Antoine Fortune, who fizzed two identical balls across the six yard box, only for several Latics players to just fail to tap it home with the net at their mercy.
Wigan Athletic continued to push, and were again left feeling that luck was not on their side on 65 minutes, as Kim-Bo Kyung saw his powerful volley deflect off team-mate James McClean, when it looked to be heading on target.
Latics were undeterred however, and carved out their best opportunity seven minutes later, when James McClean thought he had scored with his low effort.
Harry Maguire headed on William Kvist’s long range throw into the path of McClean, whose first time effort rattled just onto the side netting and swung round the back of the goal, leaving many to think he had equalised.
Malky Mackay’s men continued to battle deep into the seven added minutes of injury time, but Leeds held on to inflict a damaging home defeat.