LATICS ARE BACK IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP!Latics are back in the Sky Bet Championship at the first attempt after a superb victory at Blackpool guaranteed promotion and all but sealed the Sky Bet League One title, with Gary Caldwell's side leading Burton Albion by three points and a far superior goal difference.
Latics made their huge following of over 3,000 – with another 1,000 watching at the DW Stadium – wait for an increasingly tense hour before unleashing an explosion of goals which floored Blackpool and pushed Gary Caldwell’s men over the line in spectacular fashion.
In a strange atmosphere at Bloomfield Road, where Latics fans outnumbered the home following, Blackpool had kept Latics quiet before the break, coming close to opening the scoring themselves through Jack Redshaw and Mark Cullen.
After the break it was a different game. Yanic Wildschut had come on as an early substitute after half an hour and his influence would soon tell.
Latics had already come close before the ball fell at the feet of Chris McCann on the edge of the box after 60 minutes, the Irishman unleashing an absolute bullet into the top corner. Cue opening of the proverbial floodgates.
Wildschut’s quickfire double on 70 and 72 minutes made sure of the points with two trademark goals. Firstly McCann powered through the heart of the Blackpool defence, before slipping in the Dutchman on the left. He cut back and smashed it into the far corner.
Two minutes later and a virtual identical goal.
McCann found Will Grigg this time, 30 yards out with his back to goal. He flicked it on to Wildschut and the finish was emphatic once again, cutting back and rifling low past Colin Doyle into the bottom corner.
The icing on the cake came after 84 minutes. A corner from the left was flicked on by Craig Morgan and there was Grigg to follow the ball into the net. That was his 24th league goal of the season, level now with Nathan Ellington’s record in 2004-05. With one game to go, who would bet on him going at least one better?
Gary Caldwell brought his staff onto the field at the end, joined by Chairman David Sharpe and Owner Dave Whelan and the celebrations began, carrying on into the dressing room where the champagne flowed as loudly as the songs.
Days like this don’t come along that often for football fans but like London buses, Wigan Athletic fans may get two of them in a week – roll on next Sunday and the final match of the season against Barnsley.