Fleetwood Town 3 Wigan Athletic 4

Luke Burke
Luke Burke

Luke Burke scored his first senior goal as Wigan Athletic rounded off their pre-season by edging a seven-goal thriller at Fleetwood.

After struggling to hit their straps this summer, Latics finished with a couple of wins and, more importantly, far better performances to take into next weekend’s Championship kick-off against Bristol City.

The visitors recovered from the blow of falling behind to David Ball’s early goal to lead 3-1 at the break.

Max Power equalised within two minutes, and a couple of goals in the space of two minutes just before half-time from Burke and Yanic Wildschut had Latics in charge.

Ball added his second only for Michael Jacobs to immediately notch Wigan’s fourth, having come off the bench at the interval.

And although Bobby Grant scored Fleetwood’s third from the penalty spot just before the hour mark, Latics ran out worthy winners in the end.

The visitors had been straight into their stride from the off, and they almost took the lead inside five minutes when David Perkins’ cross found Alex Gilbey, who headed on to the roof of the net.

However, Latics were rocked on their heels when the home side went right up the other end and scored with their first attack.

Dan Burn failed to intercept a through ball to Ashley Hunter, whose cross was bundled in at the second attempt by Ball, who spent time on trial with Latics last summer.

Wigan’s attempts at an immediate leveller were initially thwarted when Power fired straight at the goalkeeper from the edge of the area.

But the midfielder did better a minute later when he worked a nice short corner with Wildschut, and blasted home under the body of goalkeeper Chris Neal.

The same combination was working in tandem shortly after, Power this time firing wide from a decent position.

It was all Latics at this point, and a clever pull-back from Gilbey with 10 minutes of the half remaining created a shooting opportunity for Burke.

The full-back’s shot was on target, but it only found the net via a fortunate deflection off a home defender.

And before Town could dust themselves down, Latics had opened-up a two-goal advantage when Power and Perkins fed Wildschut, who drilled home from 20 yards.

It could have been worse for Fleetwood had Neal not done well to tip over another rocket from Power, and the half-time whistle was a very welcome sound for the home side.

Credit Town, they regrouped at the interval and pulled one back within five minutes of the restart.

Ball took delivery of a loose ball on the edge of the area and drilled home past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

However, before Fleetwood could think about getting back on level terms, Latics had re-opened their two-goal cusion.

Jacobs had replaced Wildschut as a half-time substitute.

And after curling home the winner against Oldham in midweek, the midfielder repeated the trick with another fine free-kick from just outside the box that left the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

The goals continued to come, with Fleetwood immediately pulling another back from the penalty spot, after Sam Morsy had tripped Ball in the area.

Despite being on a hat-trick, Ball left the spot-kick duties to Bobby Grant, who sent Jaaskelainen the wrong way from 12 yards.

Latics were hanging on a bit at this point, with Ball firing straight down Jaaskelainen’s throat and Jake Buxton doing well to block a firm shot from Devante Cole.

Will Grigg was in the wars with 12 minutes to go following a collision with Conor McLaughlin, and was immediately hauled off as a precaution with Jordan Flores taking his place.

As Town pushed for a late equaliser, Power almost added his second and Wigan’s fifth, only for Neal to pull off a decent save diving to his right.

Latics: Jaaskelainen; Burke, Buxton, Morgan, Burn, Perkins; Power, Morsy, Gilbey; Wildschut, Grigg.

Subs: Nicholls, Barrigan (for Morsy, 59), Hendry, Flores (for Grigg, 79), Chow (for Burke, 90), Jacobs (for Wildschut, 46), Colclough.