GARY Caldwell believes Wigan Athletic’s penchant for winning games in dramatic circumstances is just reward for their never-say-die spirit and desire to play until the last kick.
Latics picked up another priceless three points at fellow promotion-chasers Walsall on Saturday, running out 2-1
victors thanks to Yanic Wildschut’s stoppage-time winner.
It’s becoming a welcome habit for Latics, who have picked up more points from late goals than anyone other team in League One and
are now up to second in the table.
The result sees Latics leapfrog Walsall and Gillingham, who themselves held a 2-0 advantage at the DW last month only to lose a five-goal thriller in time added on.
“We’re becoming renowned for that kind of finish,” Caldwell recognised.
“There’s been moments where we’ve won big games late on, and you’re going to have to do that if you want to be successful.
“It’s not going to be easy, and Walsall wasn’t an easy game. We knew they’d push us all the way.
“But if you’re going to be successful, you’re going to need the small margins to go in your favour.
“Fortunately we have players who can make that difference.
“It’s not a coincidence, and it’s not luck.
“It’s all about character, and this team is full of that.
“I see it every day in training - every single one of them comes in to work hard and be the best they can be.
“When you do that, you tend to get the breaks.
“They’ve had a few breaks this season, but they’ve worked very hard to get them.”
Despite Walsall looking arguably the more likely scorers in the closing stages, Caldwell believes his men were good value for the win over the 90 minutes.
After Conor McAleny’s 39th-minute opener, Latics squandered numerous chances to add a second before Sam Mantom equalised midway through the second period.
“I just think if we’d put the game to bed in the first half, it would have been a lot easier for everyone,” the Wigan boss argued.
“We never know when we’re beaten, or when we’re down.
“We made attacking substitutions at 1-1, and had an intent to win the game when we might have sat back
and taken a point away from home.
“I thought we got rewards in the end and, over the 90 minutes, I thought we were the better team.”
Despite moving up to their highest league position of the campaign, Caldwell is continuing to place little emphasis on the current standings..
“It’s just nice to win a game – and a big game at that,” he added.
“I’ve said before that the time to look at the league table in May 8, and only then will we all be judged.
“We’ll just take this as a big three points, and look forward to going again next week.”