Wigan Athletic 2 Wolves 1

Will Grigg

Will Grigg

Will Grigg came off the bench to fire Wigan Athletic off the bottom of the Championship thanks to a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Wolves.

The Northern Ireland hitman was surprisingly left on the bench by boss Gary Caldwell after going three games without a goal.

His replacement, Adam Le Fondre, took full advantage by scoring within six minutes of his full debut following his recent loan arrival from Cardiff.

However, Wolves came back into the game and full deserved their equaliser through Prince Oniangue 11 minutes before the break.

Both teams had chances to win it in an open second half, but appeared to lack the quality to break through.

Latics were indebted to skipper Stephen Warnock, who’d hacked a Danny Batth header off the line midway through the second period.

But with Latics desperate for only their second win of the campaign, they eventually found a way through via route one.

With just over a minute remaining, Grigg - who’d taken over from Le Fondre with half an hour to go - rounded the goalkeeper and slammed home into the empty net, to send the DW into raptures.

There’d only been one talking point pre-match, and that was the controversial decision to leave last season’s 28-goal top scorer out of the side.

That meant a first start in Wigan colours for Le Fondre, against the side with whom he spent last season on loan from Cardiff.

And the 29-year-old wasted no time in justifying his manager’s faith with the opening goal.

Max Power did all the ground-work down the right-hand side, and Le Fondre was in the right place at the right time to slot home from six yards.

It was the perfect confidence-booster for a side seeking their first win in eight matches.

But Latics were soon on the back foot as the visitors pushed forward in search of an equaliser.

There was a mad scramble in the home box on 13 minutes, with Adam Bogdan eventually taking responsibility and smothering the ball on the edge of his six-yard box.

For reasons best known to themselves, the entire away end decided en masse that the ball had in fact ended up in the Wigan net, and their wild celebrations were quickly drowned out by the sound of sarcastic cheers from the home end.

Latics received a warning midway through the first half as Helder Costa led a Wolves breakaway, and his fizzing shot touched the bar on the way over.

Dan Burn then did superbly to deny Costa after good work from Joao Teixeira, with Warnock clearing the cross back in from left-back Silvio.

The resulting corner was only half-cleared to Batth, whose weak shot flew straight at Bogdan, who gathered at the second attempt.

There was a flashpoint on the 33-minute mark as Jordi Gomez went to ground in the Wolves box, claiming a penalty, only for the official to caution him for simulation.

With the Spaniard still shaking his head, Wolves had gone up the other end and levelled the scores.

Ivan Cavaleiro did well to take advantage of a mistake by Jake Buxton, and his pull-back was slotted home with aplomb by Oniangue from the edge of the area.

Yanic Wildschut pulled a shot just wide from similar distance for Latics as half-time approached, and Gomez headed over shortly after the restart as Latics picked up where they’d left off.

The hosts received a warning on 55 minutes when, after David Perkins conceded a corner from halfway, Batth’s header beat Bogdan only for Warnock to get back and clear off the line.

Latics made their a double change just after the hour mark when Grigg and Nick Powell took over from Le Fondre and Gomez, with the visitors also making a couple of substitutions of their own.

Michael Jacobs took over from Nathan Byrne shortly after as Latics went all-in, and the new man immediately sent over a couple of teasing crosses that asked questions of his old club.

Wolves were still holding an interest on the break, and Costa’s low shot was well snaffled by Bogdan at full stretch.

As the clock ticked towards 90, Powell tried his luck from distance but, after a clever turn, his shot barely reached the goalkeeper and the crowd sunk back to their seats.

But with just seconds to go, Grigg was in the right place at the right time to lift Latics out of the bottom three, and secure a win that will hopefully kickstart the campaign.