LATICS 3 GILLINGHAM 2
A last gasp header from Craig Morgan capped off a stunning comeback from Wigan Athletic, who once again came back from two goals down to bag all three points against high-flying Gillingham.
Goals from Dominic Samuel and Rory Donnelly either side of the half-time whistle put the visitors in control, but Gary Caldwell’s men just don’t know when they are beaten, and once again battled back from the impossible to seal the win.
Will Grigg and Max Power scored within four minutes of each other just after the hour mark, before club captain Craig Morgan popped up in the sixth minute of added time to cap off another sensational win for his team.
The result means Latics are now six points behind the Gills in second place, with a game in hand against Sheffield United on Tuesday night.
Gary Caldwell made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 away at Scunthorpe, with Reece James and Leon Barnett brought in for Chris McCann and Yanic Wildschut.
The importance of the game was clear from the offset, with both sides feeling their way into the contest early on in a cautious ten minutes.
Andy Kellett looked bright early on in his new-look position further forward, and worked hard to create space for forward Will Grigg to move into.
It was Gillingham who had the first clear-cut chance of the contest however on 14 minutes through Bradley Dack, who was very unlucky not to put his side in-front with his effort from a free-kick.
The forward teed up the set piece on the left hand side of the area, and went agonisingly close to finding the right hand corner, beating Jussi Jaaskelainen with his curled effort and clipping the inside of the right post.
Latics responded with a set-piece chance of their own two minutes later, when Max Power swung a ball in from the right. The original cross was cleared, but Latics showed good tenacity to work the ball out wide, and it almost paid dividends.
The ball was worked to Donervon Daniels, whose low cross was met by Jason Pearce, who couldn’t quite poke the ball home from point blank range.
Gillingham continued to look teasing however, and took the lead on the 25 minute mark though Dominic Samuel, who broke down the right hand side and produced a cool finish to beat Jaaskelainen when in on goal.
Latics responded well to falling behind, and could have pulled level twice in two minutes – first through Jacobs, who tested Stuart Nelson from range, before a golden opportunity for Kellett.
The ball was swung in from a corner on the right hand side towards Kellett, who found himself with a free header at the back post, but agonisingly could only head wide.
The chances were flowing, and Latics went close again on 33 minutes through Jacobs, who stretched to meet Daniels' low cross from the right, but couldn’t quite get enough on the ball to guide it home from two yards.
Caldwell’s men continued to look bright up until the interval, but they were left frustrated going into the break, with the visitors holding on to their one goal advantage.
Latics have made a habit of firing out of the traps in the second half at the DW Stadium, but Gillingham showed why they are at the top of the division, with a brilliant opening spell that put Latics firmly on the back foot.
An effort from Bradley Dack was a warning sign six minutes into the second half, and the visitors built on that by going in-front two minutes later through Rory Donnelly, who headed home from close range to double his side’s advantage.
It was a sign of the visitors’ class, who took their chances well to put them firmly in control.
Gary Caldwell took immediate action, introducing Jordy Hiwula and Chris McCann in place of Reece James and Kellett.
The introduction of a second striker gave extra momentum to the attack, and they started to put pressure on the hosts.
The substitutions took just over eight minutes to pay dividends, with Hiwula involved in the move that saw Will Grigg pull one back on 64 minutes.
The substitute swung the ball in from the left towards Jacobs, who headed the ball into the path of Grigg, who made no mistake to put his side right back into the contest.
Latics were suddenly galvanised, and they wasted no time in pulling off a remarkable comeback, equalising in fortuitous circumstances just four minutes later through Max Power.
The midfielder received the ball 25 yards from goal, and lived up to his name by blasting it goal-wards. It looked to be a comfortable save for Nelson, but the goalkeeper was unable to gather the ball, and it deflected into the back of the net.
The entire stadium could sense an opportunity, and Latics suddenly had just over 20 minutes to seal an incredible turnaround.
Gillingham were still very much in the contest though, and threatened throughout the final 20 minutes themselves, with Dack keeping Jaaskelainen busy from range on 72 minutes.
Latics were on top however, and went agonisingly close to going infront 11 minutes from time through Daniels. The full-back weaved his way into space on the edge of the area, before curling the ball inches wide of the right hand post.
Daniels was looking sharp, and the defender showed his abilities on the break with a brilliant drive forward two minutes later. He wisely teed it up for Grigg, who just failed to pick out Hiwula with an excellent cross-field pass that would have seen the striker released.
It was looking like it would just be a dramatic draw for Latics as time crept on, but the feeling that one more chance would come still lingered as the fourth official announced a whopping six minutes of added time.
The chance we were all hoping for, quite incredibly, came in the sixth and final minute of added time and fell to Craig Morgan.
Latics won a corner on the right hand side which was taken by Power. His cross was met perfectly by Morgan, who rose highest to head home and blow the roof off the DW Stadium on a truly remarkable night for Caldwell’s men.