Joe Garner strike seals final day win for Latics against Millwall.
- Match Report: Wigan Athletic 1 – 0 Millwall
- Joe Garner strike seals final day win for Latics against Millwall
- Latics finish the Sky Bet Championship campaign in 18th position, Millwall finish 21st.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Attendance: 10,859 (1,002 away)
Joe Garner’s eighth goal of the season sealed a final day win for Latics as they beat Millwall 1-0 at the DW Stadium.
Garner’s 15th minute strike was enough to seal all three points and an 18th place finish for Paul Cook’s side as they continued their fine end to the season.
Latics made four changes for the final Sky Bet Championship fixture of the season with Christian Walton returning in goal, Anthony Pilkington and Kal Naismith in wide positions and Reece James as captain, coming in for Jamie Jones, Josh Windass, Nathan Byrne and Darron Gibson.
Latics also welcomed leading Academy goal scorer Charlie Jolley onto the bench for his first game in the squad, whilst Development Squad midfielders Alex Perry and Chris Merrie also make the substitutes.
Perry, who scored from inside his own half earlier in the season away at Doncaster Rovers for the Development Squad, is involved for the first time, whilst Merrie made his Latics debut in 2017 in the EFL Cup against Blackpool at the DW Stadium.
Latics were out of the blocks quickly and forced an early corner which Chey Dunkley headed just over from Pilkington’s delivery.
At the other end, Millwall’s first chance came after five minutes as former Latic Ryan Tunnicliffe crossed for Lee Gregory but he fired well off target at the near post.
Kal Naismith then intercepted the ball in midfield and found Garner, who shot powerfully from 25 yards but was denied by Millwall stopper David Martin. And moments later, Antonee Robinson got in on the left side for Cook’s side but crossed too heavily for the onrushing Pilkington, whilst Nick Powell was well-placed for a potential cut back.
Naismith was involved again as Latics went ahead on 15 minutes, his back heel finding Powell who saw his shot saved by Martin only for Garner to tap home the rebound.
Millwall reacted with a chance of their own as Steve Morison headed Shane Ferguson’s deep cross over at the back post.
And soon after makeshift right back Cedric Kipre had to be round on the cover to deny Gregory as he saw an opportunity present itself on the edge of Latics’ penalty area.
Pressure continued from the Lions a corner from the left caused problems for Latics and they needed Powell to make a goal-line clearance to keep their advantage.
Ferguson continued to be the Lions’ most creative outlet as the first-half wore on and another of his crosses found Morison at the back post but headed wide.
The Lions had a great opportunity to level early in the second-half after Gregory’s initial effort in the area was superbly saved by Walton, Tunnicliffe could only blaze the follow up over the bar.
Just after the hour mark, Jolley was handed his Latics debut, replacing Pilkington, in a special moment for the striker who has over 40 goals in youth football this season.
Within six minutes of being on the pitch, he had a good opportunity to score as he met Robinson’s cross but fired wide at the near post.
The game ultimately petered out with neither side creating opportunities after a flurry of substitutions, the last of which saw James replaced by Gary Roberts, with the Chelsea loanee receiving a standing ovation from the DW Stadium crowd on his last Latics match before heading back to his parent club.
Latics: Walton, Robinson, James (Capt) (Roberts 89), Pilkington (Jolley 63), Naismith, Kipre, Dunkley, Powell, Olsson, Evans, Garner (McManaman 74)
Subs: Jones, Gibson, Merrie, Perry
Millwall: Martin, Meredith, Cooper, Williams (Mitchell 77), Gregory (Alexander 66), Ferguson, Romeo, Pearce, Tunnicliffe (Skalak 61), Morison (Capt), Leonard
Subs: Amos, McLaughlin, Elliott, McNamara.