Latics recorded their biggest ever EFL win in a good Christmas period which strengthened our grip on an automatic promotion spot.
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It was back to FA Cup action for Paul Cook’s side at the start of December as our first-ever fixture with AFC Fylde saw us head to Mill Farm in front of the BBC cameras. Will Grigg gave Latics a first-half lead but Danny Rowe’s second-half penalty meant the National League side would be heading to the DW for a replay just under a fortnight later.
Former Latics boss Uwe Rosler brought his Fleetwood Town side to the DW Stadium next as Latics’ promotion march continued. It was one of Rosler’s players from his time at the DW who got the ball rolling as Nick Powell opened the scoring after seven minutes before Dan Burn doubled the advantage prior to half-time.
The following Tuesday saw AFC Fylde come to the DW for their replay with Latics and it took a late double salvo from Grigg to keep Cook’s side in the competition. Ivan Toney had put Latics ahead but Simon Grand and Rowe gave Dave Challinor’s side the advantage heading into the final ten minutes when substitute Grigg grabbed a brace to save Latics’ blushes and set up a Third Round tie at Premier League Bournemouth.
It was back to league action for the remainder of 2018 and the build up to Christmas saw Cook’s side make two lengthy trips to grounds they hadn’t played at before. Firstly, Latics faced AFC Wimbledon for the first-ever time in league matches with their trip to Kingsmeadow proving well worth the wait as a second-half goal-fest saw Michael Jacobs, Powell, Max Power and Toney score in a 4-0 win.
A week later, though, and it got better for Latics fans as the perfect early Christmas present was provided at Oxford United. It didn’t ever feel like a day on which Latics would break a club record but from kick-off onwards at the Kassam Stadium, Cook’s side were relentless and broke their previous record of 7-1 to record their biggest ever league victory with a 7-0 success over Pep Clotet’s side. Grigg got the first goal and went on to get a hat-trick with Power grabbing a brace and Gavin Massey and Powell also on the mark.
On Boxing Day, League Two’s top two sides cancelled each other out as we played out a goalless draw with Shrewsbury Town at the DW. And, three days later, the same score-line saw Charlton Athletic head back to the capital with a point as Latics closed out the calendar year on top of the League One table.