Paul Cook's Blue and White Army heading back to the Sky Bet Championship after 4-0 win over Fleetwood Town on Saturday afternoon!
- Wigan Athletic promoted back to the Sky Bet Championship after 4-0 win over Fleetwood Town
- Latics break their clean sheet record as Christian Walton and Jamie Jones reach a combined 26 in League One this season
- Goals from Max Power, Gavin Massey, Dan Burn and Chey Dunkley secure victory for Paul Cook’s side
- Latics reach 86 league goals for the campaign, a club record with three matches to spare
- Two wins from final three Sky Bet League One matches would secure the title for Latics
FLEETWOOD TOWN 0
WIGAN ATHLETIC 4
Attendance: 3,836 (1,122 away)
As they did two years ago, Latics romped to a 4-0 victory on the Fylde Coast to secure promotion back to the Sky Bet Championship.
On this occasion, Fleetwood Town were the side who felt the full force of a sublime attacking performance from Paul Cook’s side who smashed more records in their special campaign, which they’ll look to finish with the Sky Bet League One title.
Max Power and Gavin Massey got the ball rolling in the first-half before defenders Dan Burn and Chey Dunkley continued their fine runs in front of goal to see Latics home on a wonderful day at the Highbury Stadium.
As Latics’ clash with the Cod Army finished, a tense 90 seconds followed as we awaited confirmation of Shrewsbury Town’s result – Paul Hurst’s side, who have had an incredible campaign, drawing 1-1 at home to Bury to see Latics’ points total move ten points ahead of theirs with just three games remaining.
Cook made changes from the midweek win over Oxford United with Nathan Byrne, Will Grigg and Massey all returning to the starting XI.
In baking hot weather, neither side could gain the early initiative as both sides moved the ball without any real penetration in the final third.
Gary Roberts was the first to go close as he fired a left-footed effort towards goal only to see Alex Cairns produce a fingertip save onto the post.
At the other end, Ashley Hunter fired over as he looked the most likely threat for John Sheridan’s side until Latics’ opener just after the half hour set the tone for 60 minutes of domination.
Power continues to set the highest standards and, in contrast to some of the piledrivers he’s struck in his near 150 appearance Latics career, this one was all about precision and class. Byrne provided the assist from the right as he teed up the midfielder to curl home clinically from the edge of the area. Cue a 50-yard sprint to the Latics fans at the other end and the Bouncy Tigger…
Three minutes later and, as has been so typical of Cook’s side this season, a quickfire second followed. Grigg played the ball in behind the Fleetwood defence for Massey, who had it all to do as he skilfully brought the ball under control before cutting onto his right foot and leaving Cairns with no chance with an outstanding finish.
It took until the hour mark for Latics to make it 3-0; Ryan Colclough squaring for Burn to finish superbly from ten yards in the penalty area – a finish his teammate Grigg would have been proud of.
Power could have had his second and Latics’ fourth soon after as Roberts broke on the left and squared across goal for him, though the finish let the midfielder down as he stretched and fired off target.
But, on 66 minutes, though, Dunkley ensured he continues to outscore his defensive partner Burn as blasted home a loose ball in the area after the hosts failed to clear.
Substitute Jamie Walker, Roberts and Devante Cole all had chances to further Latics’ lead in front of the sell-out travelling support but it wasn’t to be as a repeat score-line from the win at Blackpool two years ago saw Cook’s side home.
Of equal importance to Cook and his side, a clean sheet for Christian Walton meant he and Jamie Jones have now beat the club’s record of 26 clean sheets in a league campaign, whilst the 86 league goals scored are also the most any Latics side have notched as a league club.
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Hiwula, Dempsey, Burns (Biggins 61), Grant (Madden 61), Bolger, Diagouraga, Jones, Hunter (McAleny 75).
Subs: Neal, Pond, Glendon, Sowerby.
Wigan Athletic: Walton; Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, Elder; Morsy (Capt), Power; Massey (Perkins 78), Roberts, Colclough (Walker 67); Grigg (Cole 67)
Subs: Jones, Vaughan, Bruce, Jacobs.