A BRILLIANT brace from substitute James McClean gave Wigan Athletic a thoroughly deserved first win in nine matches at table-topping Derby.
All the pre-match build-up had been focused on the in-form Rams, who had gone top of the table in midweek on the back of a club-record sixth clean sheet on the bounce.
But McClean smashed that record to smithereens after emerging off the bench on the hour mark.
And it was no more than Latics deserved, having been positive from the off in taking the game to their opponents.
They should have gone ahead just before half-time when they were awarded a penalty for handball.
James Tavernier’s spot-kick was decent enough, but England goalkeeper Jack Butland dived low to his right to pull off a stupendous stop.
Salt was rubbed into Wigan wounds moments later when the Rams took the lead on the stroke of half-time thanks to John Eustace’s close-range effort.
But Latics refused to let the setback affect them, and they were level shortly after McClean’s introduction with half an hour to go, after good work from Roger Espinoza.
Rather than sit back and defend their point, Latics continued to push forward and were rewarded with six minutes to go when McClean stabbed home from close range.
The visitors then managed to hold out in the face of late Derby pressure, with a vital three points they will hope could really kickstart their campaign.
FOR THE FULL REPORT, PICTURES AND REACTION, SEE MONDAY’S EVENING POST