Swindon 1 Wigan Athletic 4

Will Grigg
Will Grigg
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Three goals in the space of four minutes at the start of the second half helped Wigan Athletic extend their unbeaten run to 17 games thanks to a thumping 4-1 victory at Swindon.

Latics had led by the odd goal at the break, thanks to a clinical left-foot finish from Will Grigg on 15 minutes.

Grigg was only playing thanks to a gentleman’s agreement with Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill - the former Latics midfielder - which allowed him to be excused international duty.

And a devastating blitz shortly after the restart put the game to bed with over half an hour to spare.

Max Power grabbed the second goal with a stunning strike from 30 yards that arrowed into the top corner.

Grigg added his second goal - and his 20th of the campaign - with a deflected strike that deceived home goalkeeper Tyrell Belford.

And Sam Morsy got in on the act, taking Yanic Wildschut’s pass before smashing into the bottom corner from outside the box with 39 minutes still remaining.

Boss Gary Caldwell was then able to take off Power, Wildschut and Grigg as his side continued to dominate their shell-shocked opponents.

Despite Nicky Ajose pulling one back with 12 minutes remaining, there was never any chance Latics wouldn’t move to within three points of leaders Burton.

And Swindon’s misery was compounded in the closing stages when skipper Nathan Thompson was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Chris McCann.

Right from the off, the visitors had looked half a yard sharper than their in-form opponents, who still harboured hopes of mounting a late play-off push.

Power tried his luck in the opening stages with a free-kick from 30 yards out, with Belford doing well to tip it over the bar.

Latics were given a warning when Town centre-back Thompson embarked on a rampaging run from halfway, before sending a shot just wide of the post.

But the visitors continued to look the most likely, and indeed took the lead with a quarter of an hour gone.

McCann provided the opportunity from the left wing, and Grigg’s deadly strike was too good for Belford.

The same combination almost led to a second goal seven minutes later, the striker this time failing to get his head to another inviting McCann delivery.

At the other end, a lovely one-two between Michael Doughty and Ajose saw the former stab straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen from the edge of the area.

However, Latics soon regained control and ended the half on the top.

Wildschut was almost in only for his touch to desert him at the key moment, which allowed Thompson, the last defender, to get his foot in.

Latics were inches away again on the stroke of half-time when Power’s free-kick somehow evaded both Grigg and captain Craig Morgan, when any touch would have meant a second goal.

The only negative for Caldwell at the break would have been his side only having scored a solitary goal.

Thankfully, that was put right within six minutes of the restart, with the scoreline given a far more accurate reflection.

Power added number two with a stunning strike that was in from the moment it left his right foot.

Grigg then made it three with a shot that clipped off a Town defender and wrong-footed the unfortunate goalkeeper.

And it was game over on 51 minutes when Wildschut teed up Morsy, who notched his first goal for the club with a superb drive that Belford couldn’t get near.

Wigan’s dominance was so great that goal-shy David Perkins almost came close to notching his first goal for Latics, only to drill his effort wide of the mark from 12 yards.

McCann headed over from Power’s corner, before Grigg got the better of Thompson only to scuff his shot past the far post.

Great feet from Wildschut opened up the Town defence again, with the Dutchman not quite able to connect with Grigg at the near post.

It seemed only a matter of how many Latics would score at this point, and Wildschut came close on two more occasions only to drag one shot wide and send another powerful effort straight at Belford.

It probably would have been more had Caldwell not elected to use his bench as Power, Wildschut and Grigg were replaced by Tim Chow, Craig Davies and Haris Vuckic,

Swindon took the opportunity to push in the final quarter, and Ajose saw a curling free-kick tipped over by Jaaskelainen.

Ajose then did beat the Latics goalkeeper with 12 minutes to go with a nice finish from the edge of the area.

But they were never going to pull off a remarkable comeback, and indeed ended with 10 men after Thompson was awarded a straight red for a lunge on McCann.