Blackpool 0 Wigan Athletic 4

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Let the party begin!

Wigan Athletic are officially back in the Championship - and all-but secured the League One title with a crushing 4-0 victory at Blackpool.

Latics players celebrate after their 4-0 victory at Blackpool

Latics players celebrate after their 4-0 victory at Blackpool

After Chris McCann had opened the scoring on the hour mark, substitute Yanic Wildschut added two goals inside two minutes just after the three-quarter mark, before Will Grigg added the icing to the cake with number four.

Latics had struggled to get into their stride in the first half, with the struggling Seasiders enjoying the best of it.

The home side almost took the lead on more than one occasion, only for strikers Mark Cullen and Jack Redshaw to squander gilt-edged opportunities.

And Latics made them pay for their profligacy with a devastating display of finishing inside the final half-hour.

Blackpool's Luke Higham battles with Wigan Athletic's Kevin McNaughton

Blackpool's Luke Higham battles with Wigan Athletic's Kevin McNaughton

First McCann flicked up the ball before volleying home his second goal in two matches.

Then the Irishman picked the perfect time to release Wildschut, who slotted past goalkeeper Colin Doyle with his right foot.

Moments later, the flying Dutchman made it 3-0 when he cut in from the left before smashing a right-foot shot past the helpless Doyle.

And Grigg rounded off the scoring from a couple of yards to notch his 27th goal of the season - and kick-off a promotion party that may well last all week.

Gary Caldwell with the bubbly

Gary Caldwell with the bubbly

Latics had gone into the game needing a point to mathematically secure their place back in the Championship at the first attempt.

But for much of the opening period, they were forced to play second fiddle to a Blackpool side who knew defeat would virtually condemn them to League Two football.

With 11 minutes gone, a scuffed shot turned into an unwittingly brilliant through ball to Redshaw, only for Jussi Jaaskelainen to fly off his line and make a timely block

Just after the midway point in the half, Cullen then found himself one-on-one with the Wigan goalkeeper, only to pull his shot badly wide of the far post.

Fans celebrate at the final whistle

Fans celebrate at the final whistle

Latics had another lucky escape moments later when Donervon Daniels under-hit a backpass and then appeared to tug back Renshaw, although referee Stuart Attwell waved away the half-shouts for a penalty.

Stephen Warnock had to be alert to get his head to a searching cross that looked to be inch-perfect for the waiting Danny Philliskirk inside the box.

From the resulting corner, Tom Aldred - who notched the only goal in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season - planted a free header just over.

As half-time approached, a Redshaw free-kick deflected off the wall and on to the roof of the net.

And Redshaw had his head in his hands moments later when he raced through and rounded Jaaskelainen, only to - from an admittedly tight angle - plant the ball well over an empty net.

Apart from a couple of long-range efforts from Max Power that were easily saved, Wigan had shown precious little as an attacking force.

And their unease was underlined when the uninjured Sam Morsy was replaced by Wildschut with six minutes of the half still remaining.

Boss Gary Caldwell clearly used the interval to good effect, because the visitors looked a completely different side after the break.

A brilliant dummy and spin from Grigg saw him advance on goal, and he was narrowly unable to cut the ball back to the waiting McCann, who would have had a tap-in.

Blackpool’s cause wasn’t helped when the lively Cullen pulled up lame with a hamstring problem that forced the Seasiders into a change.

But all the action was now at the other end, with Reece Wabara seeing a fierce shot blocked, and Wildschut cutting off the opposite flank only to fire straight at the goalkeeper.

The pressure was building, though, and the Blackpool wall cracked on the hour mark.

And it was a brilliant individual goal from McCann, who flicked up the ball before lashing it past Doyle from just outside the box - to the delight of the 3,000-plus away contingent.

After Conor McAleny took over from ex-Blackpool loanee Michael Jacobs, Latics stepped up a gear and underlined exactly why there will probably be two divisions between these sides next term.

Wildschut took delivery of a neat ball from McCann to double the lead on 70 minutes with a neat side-foot finish, and two minutes later the ex-Middlesbrough man added his second and Wigan’s third with a rasping drive from a similar position.

Jason Pearce took over from Wabara for the last 10 minutes, but would hardly have had a kick with Latics now doing all the pressing.

Wildschut fired just wide of the mark, before McAleny saw a promising effort deflect past the post

After such an encouraging start, Blackpool were now visibly out on their feet and desperate to be put out of their misery.

But salt was rubbed into the gaping wounds with five minutes left, when Grigg tapped home from close range, and looked almost apologetic as he turned to celebrate with his colleagues right in front of the joyous visiting supporters.