Will Grigg double ensures fourth consecutive home win as Latics beat Walsall at the DW Stadium on Satur
- Report: Latics 2 - 0 Walsall.
- Will Grigg double earns Latics all three points.
- Third consecutive home win for Paul Cook's side.
Attendance: 8,107 (419 away)
Two Will Grigg goals ensured Latics strengthened their grip on an automatic promotion spot in Sky Bet League One, as they beat Walsall 2-0 at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Grigg fired home a loose ball inside the penalty area in the first-half, before he scored a penalty in the second after he’d been fouled by James Wilson inside the box.
The win keeps Latics in 2nd place, four points behind leaders Shrewsbury Town who continued to impress with a 2-0 win over Latics’ opponents next weekend, Scunthorpe United.
Going into the game, there was only one change to the team that saw off Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night with Callum Elder replacing Reece James.
Latics started how they intended to go on with their first chance coming inside the first minute after a lovely one two between the two midfielders, Gavin Massey and Lee Evans.
Eight minutes were on the clock as the first booking of the game was dished out to captain Samy Morsy. The crowd seemed to believe that the referee’s decision was harsh as it looked like a 50/50 challenge that was won by the Egypt international against the opposition’s captain, Adam Chambers. The same jeers made by the crowd came in the 13th minute after Grigg and Nick Powell shut down Oztumer quickly and efficiently, forcing him to his own 18-yard box only to be rewarded with a foul against them leaving the pair both annoyed and bemused.
Powell then had a great chance to open the scoring when played in behind with a ball over the top but his usually immense technique evaded him and he shot well wide.
It was only on the half hour mark that Latics’ persistent pressure was rewarded. After some fast-flowing football between the two left sided players, Michael Jacobs and Callum Elder, a very dangerous cross was met by both Powell and Walsall’s keeper Mark Gillespie, the ball bounced loose and Grigg made no mistake, driving the ball home into the bottom right hand corner to give the Latics the goal they deserved.
After the half-time interval, it took just seven minutes for the partnership of Powell and Grigg to have an effect after a lovely dinked pass from the former was met by the Northern Ireland international, who was bearing down on goal only to be unfairly brought down by James Wilson, giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. Grigg stepped up to calmly slot it under the dive of substitute keeper, Liam Roberts.
After an almost faultless afternoon performance from Latics’ back four, Dan Burn, slipped and gave the ball away to Walsall’s creative Erhun Oztumer whose snapshot lacked power and went wide of the goal.
Powell again went close after a well delivered low cross by Elder just needed the slightest of touches but the forward couldn’t apply the finishing touch at the near post.
This was the last chance before the playmaker was brought off and replaced by Gary Roberts in the 77th minute, after another classy display.
Walsall applied pressure as the second-half wore on; in the 83rd minute, substitute Dan Agyei capitalised on a Latics mistake and powered his way past the defence, only to drag his shot wide. However, just two minutes later, Oztumer displayed a glimpse of his wonderful vision by clipping a ball to the back post which was met by the left back Luke Leahy who brought it back across goal only for Chey Dunkley to force his teammate, Jamie Jones, into action for his final save of the game on his 300th career appearance.
Latics: Jones, N. Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, Elder; Morsy (Capt), Evans (Power 68); Massey, Powell (Roberts 78), Jacobs (Perkins 45), Grigg.
Subs: Sarkic, Toney, Bruce, Hunt.
Walsall: Gillespie (Roberts 45); Devlin, Wilson, Guthrie, Leahy; Chambers, Oztumer, Morris, Edwards, Ismail (Agyei 57); Roberts (Bakayoko 77).
Subs: Kinsella, Flanagan, Donnellan, Kouhyar.