Fleetwood Town 0 Wigan Athletic 4
WIGAN ATHLETIC ARE BACK IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP!
A 4-0 victory at Fleetwood - coupled with Shrewsbury’s failure to beat Bury at home, means Paul Cook’s men have regained their second-tier status at the first attempt.
It took Latics fully 33 minutes to break the deadlock at Highbury Stadium - but after that they never looked back.
Max Power took delivery of Nathan Byrne’s pass to side-foot coolly into the bottom corner - to the delight of the sold-out Latics contingent in the sun.
And those supporters were celebrating again within four minutes when Gavin Massey fired confidently home from the edge of the box.
‘Superman’ Dan Burn made it 3-0 on 57 minutes with a deadly finish from Ryan Colclough’s left-wing cross.
And Chey Dunkley made it four on 66 minutes from close range after the hosts failed to clear.
After the full-time whistle, there was a then a short wait until the five added minutes at Shrewsbury was played out to discover if a top-two spot had been achieved.
But already-relegated Bury held on for a point - to ensure Wigan’s second promotion from this division in three seasons.
With Byrne, Massey and Will Grigg restored to the starting side, Latics enjoyed much of the ball in the early stages although the home defence were keeping them at arm’s length.
Roberts almost broke the deadlock with a stunning left-foot curler that seemed bound for the far corner until Alex Cairns - at full stretch - tipped it on to the post.
But once Latics did break the deadlock, just after the half-hour mark, they never looked back.
Great work from Byrne down the left set up the field position, and Power’s finish from 20 yards was all about precision into the right-hand corner of the net.
Goal number two arrived shortly after when Grigg’s pass was controlled expertly by Massey, who then bamboozled the home defence with a lovely turn before curling the ball home from the edge of the box.
Number three arrived just after the hour mark when Callum Elder and Power helped to free Colclough, whose cross was slotted home by Burn at the near post.
Power should have made it 4-0 moments later when he fired wide after great work from Roberts.
And he was shown how it’s done by team-mate Dunkley, who reacted first to a parry by Cairns to match his centre-back partner Burn’s goalscoring feat.
Latics could and perhaps should have increased their lead in the final quarter, but substitutes Jamie Walker and Devante Cole, and Roberts, failed to make the most of decent opportunities.
But it mattered not at the final whistle, as the continental lager was brought on to the pitch to kick-off promotion celebrations that are perhaps still going in some parts of the town.