Burton 0 Wigan Athletic 2

Two goals from Callum Connolly on debut put the skids on Burton Albion at the Pirelli - and gave Wigan Athletic a survival lifeline thanks to a deserved 2-0 victory.

Sunday, 15th January 2017, 3:08 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th January 2017, 4:11 pm
Callum Connolly marks his Latics debut in style

Latics had only completed the loan signing of the young Everton right-back just before kick-off, but he was thrown straight in at the deep end by Warren Joyce.

Second-bottom Latics had gone into the game knowing nothing less than a win would do against the fourth-bottom Brewers, who were defending a six-point buffer over their visitors.

But they produced the perfect away-day performance to slash that gap to just three points, with 20 games of the campaign still to go.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The visitors took the lead in stoppage-time at the end of the first half, when skipper Stephen Warnock’s cross was headed home powerfully at the far post by Connolly.

And the youngster doubled the advantage just after the hour mark when he nodded home Michael Jacobs’ right-wing corner.

It could have been three inside the final quarter, but Yanic Wildschut was unable to find Will Grigg, who would have had a tap-in from eight yards.

The win did come at a potential cost, with Wildschut and Max Power limping off in the last 10 minutes, but finally Latics have momentum with their first back-to-back wins for nine months.

The result means Latics have now beaten every single team they have played in the Football League, victory over the Brewers bringing up the round century in fine style.

And a second successive victory - and clean sheet - will have boosted morale hugely ahead of next weekend’s visit of faltering Brentford.

Latics were almost in right from the off, with Jacobs getting round the last man and appearing to be impeded as he tried to get his shot away, only for the official to wave play on.

At the other end, there was a mad scramble in the Latics box, before Jake Buxton cleaned out team-mates and opponents alike to head clear.

Jacobs threatened again when he cut inside and saw his left-foot shot well saved at his near post by the goalkeeper.

But Latics had a scare when goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard - making his league debut - missed his punch, with the ball hitting him in face before he was helped out by his defence.

Within seconds, Latics were on the attack as Wildschut raced 60 yards up the field before being pulled down.

The visitors had the ball in the net on the half-hour mark thanks to Jacobs, but the flag was long up and the whistle long gone for offside.

A lovely ball inside the full-back from Sam Morsy released Power, who won a corner which was cleared, with the ex-Tranmere man then finding a yard inside the box only to drag his shot wide of the mark.

Grigg also saw a left-foot shot curl wide of the goal as Latics pressed further , but they were given a warning at the other end when Chris O’Grady turned Buxton and his shot beat Haugaard, only to be blocked by a lunging Warnock on the goalline.

It looked as though the sides would go in level at the break, but Latics took the lead in first-half stoppage-time when Connolly rose highest to nod home Warnock’s deep delivery from the left.

Predictably, the hosts threw everything at Latics at the start of the second half, with Warnock doing fantastic to get in the way of a rocket from Marvin Sordell - in the area where men would least like to catch a blistering shot from close range.

Dan Burn then almost created a problem for himself, and his side, when instead of playing the ball, he went out of his way to obstruct Sordell, and was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty.

And Latics made the most of the let-off when they doubled their advantage on 64 minutes, thanks again to the aerial ability of Connolly, from a beautifully lofted corner from Jacobs.

After that, there was never a worry Burton possessed anything like the potency to get their way back into the game.

Despite Latics losing Wildschut and Power in the final quarter, replaced by Jordan Flores and Craig Morgan, the visitors played out time relatively comfortably.

O’Grady did have one final effort from distance, with four minutes to go, but Haugaard was equal to it, to preserve a second clean sheet out from his two games played.