Second-half Mason Bennett and Scott Malone goals complete turnaround for play-off chasing Derby County at Pride Park.
- Match Report: Derby County 2 – 1 Wigan Athletic
- Goals from Mason Bennett and Scott Malone earn Derby County 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic at Pride Park on Tuesday evening.
- Gavin Massey had given Paul Cook’s Latics a first-half lead against Frank Lampard’s Rams.
DERBY COUNTY 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Attendance: 23,655 (297 away)
Wigan Athletic’s five-match unbeaten run came to an end as two second-half goals secured play-off chasing Derby County all three points at Pride Park on Tuesday evening.
Latics had taken a first-half lead through Gavin Massey but a wonder goal from Mason Bennett levelled the game before Scott Malone scored a late winner for the Rams.
The defeat moves Derby level with the play-off places whilst Latics remain in 19th, three points above the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone.
Paul Cook made two changes from the weekend’s draw with Middlesbrough as Michael Jacobs and Massey came in for Kal Naismith and Josh Windass who dropped to the bench.
Latics had started on the front foot at Pride Park with an early Chey Dunkley shot blocked by the Derby backline following an early Latics corner.
Harry Wilson then blasted over and Bradley Johnson had a header blocked when he arrived late in the area as Cook’s side had to manage pressure from the Rams’ frontline.
However, they absorbed that onslaught and countered magnificently to take the lead when Jacobs drove forwards and played in Massey, who finished calmly through the legs of former Latics goalkeeper Scott Carson.
Moments later, Latics had a great chance for a second as Nathan Byrne crossed deep for Leon Clarke, but he headed off target.
There was a further chance for either side as half-time approached with Johnson firing over at one end following a Jayden Bogle cross before a Lee Evans delivery was met my Jacobs, who saw his header saved by Carson.
Latics started the second-half well and up to the hour mark provided real frustration to the home support before a magnificent Bennett goal turned the game on its head. Malone crossed from the left and the substitute – who had only been on the pitch for five minutes – hooked the ball towards goal acrobatically and over Jamie Jones, who stood no chance.
Four minutes later and Latics almost got back in front as a brilliant tackle from Reece James on Tom Huddlestone won possession before the Chelsea loanee played in Jacobs on the left, though his shot went narrowly wide of the far post.
Jones then denied Duane Holmes’s 25-yard drive before Latics went close again as substitute Powell saw a header blocked before Evans forced a low save from Carson.
Cedric Kipre blocked bravely from Wilson as Latics looked to preserve their advantage but moments later the Rams got ahead when Latics failed to clear and Bogle crossed for Malone to fire home at close range.
It was a real sucker punch for Cook’s side and, with the exception of late half chances for Powell and Clarke, Cook’s side couldn’t find the opportunity for a leveller and now face a massive game at Reading on Saturday.
Derby County: Carson, Tomori, Keogh (Capt), Wilson (Nugent 88), Waghorn, Jozefzoon (Holmes 57), Marriott (Bennett 57), Johnson, Bogle, Huddlestone, Malone
Subs: Roos, Wisdom, Cole, Bird
Latics: Jones, Byrne, Dunkley, Kipre, Fox (Naismith 33), Massey (Powell 70), Evans, James, Morsy, Jacobs (Windass 77), Clarke
Subs: Evans, Gibson, Olsson, Garner