Goals from Nick Powell, Will Grigg and Gavin Massey on the mark as Latics win 3-0 for the second consecutive game.
- Wigan Athletic beat Bristol Rovers in Sky Bet League One
- Will Grigg scores first goal of season in 49th minute
- Nick Powell scores 4th of the season in first half before coming off injured
- Gavin Massey with late strike to make it three goals in two matches
- Ryan Sweeney sent off in 30th minute for visitors.
- Jamie Jones saves late penalty
BRISTOL ROVERS 0
Another sublime finish from Nick Powell, Will Grigg’s first league goal for almost a year and a 3rd Gavin Massey goal in two games saw off ten-man Bristol Rovers at the DW Stadium.
Latics laid siege to the Rovers goal for long periods, had other chances to score further but in the end had to be thankful for a brilliant late penalty save by Jamie Jones to preserve the clean sheet before Massey put the cherry on the cake with his late goal.
Latics were unchanged going into the game, and dominated from the first whistle although it took until the 8th minute to create the first chance, Grigg finding space behind the defence to latch on to a reverse pass from Powell and drawing a good save from Sam Slocombe.
Ollie Clarke tested Jamie Jones from the edge of the box after 12 minutes before Slocombe was called into action again after Reece James’ cross was met with a diving header by Gavin Massey at the near post and the keeper parried from close range.
Latics had a double chance after 26 minutes, Powell’s long-range effort was not held by Slocombe the ball came back to Powell just inside the box and his volley was off target.
Then came the goal. A sublime touch from Grigg sent Jacobs clear after 30 minutes, he got in front of Ryan Swseeney who pulled him down just outside the area. The referee took his time but pulled out the red card and Powell majestically swept home the free-kick through the defensive wall, Slocombe at full stretch to his right couldn’t get a hand to it.
Alas for Latics, it was Powell’s last contribution, he limped off following a collision with Marc Bola shortly afterwards, replaced by Ivan Toney.
Latics should have been two goals up in the 39th minute, Tom Broadbent somehow scooping the ball off the line after Massey had blasted it at him from close range after Grigg had been denied by Slocombe initially.
Latics were two goals up after bursting out of the blocks in the second half, Grigg putting 12 months of goal and injury misery behind him with a predatory near-post finish, turning in Nathan Byrne’s deflected right-wing cross with an emphatic strike into the far side netting.
Toney found space to shoot inside the box after 59 minutes, Slocombe diving to his left to parry.
Chris Lines forced Jones into a save low to his left after 64 minutes but it was a rare attack from the ten-man visitors.
Gary Roberts came on for Grigg in the 70th minute to make his DW Stadium debut in a Latics shirt, the Northern Ireland striker receiving a huge ovation as he exited the field.
The visitors came back into it and after a prolonged period of pressure, were awarded a penalty when Michael Jacobs appeared to handle Tom Nichols’ free-kick but Jones pulled off a great save low to his left to deny Ellis Harrison.
It looked as if that would be that but in the 5th minute of added time, Massey drove into the box on the left side, picked up a one-two with Roberts and drilled it home powerfully past Slocombe, his 3rd goal in two games.
Latics: Jones, Byrne, Bruce, Burn, James, Morsy (Power, 82), Evans, Massey, Jacobs, Powell (Toney, 36), Grigg (Roberts 70).
Subs not used: Sarkic, Elder, Thomas , Hunt.
Bristol Rovers: Slocombe; Leadbitter, Lockyer, Sweeney, Bola, Lines, Serombe, Clarke, Bodin (Nichols, 55), Gafney (Broadbent 32), Harrison.
Subs not used: Smith, Brown, Telford, Moore, Partington.