Wigan Athletic 3 Southend 0

Nick Powell
Nick Powell
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It was a lucky 13th game of the season for Wigan Athletic, who took over leadership of League One thanks to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Southend.

Latics had only led 1-0 heading into the last 10 minutes, thanks to Michael Jacobs’ heavily-deflected effort inside the opening quarter.

But they could and should have been out of sight after dominating the vast majority of the encounter.

Wigan’s cause was helped on the hour mark when Jermaine McGlashan was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Callum Elder.

And they eventually secured their victory with eight minutes to go when Nick Powell sprung the offside trap before rounding Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley and slipping the ball into an empty net.

The icing to the cake was provided with two minutes left when Ivan Toney - on for Will Grigg - finished from close range off a Gary Roberts cross to put the Shrimpers out of their misery.

And the news that long-time leaders Shrewsbury had dropped a couple of points at rock-bottom Plymouth was the cherry on top of the icing for Paul Cook and his men.

Cook had again done minimal tinkering to his tried-and-tested line-up, with only two expected changes as captain Sam Morsy returned from international duty alongside the fit-again Jacobs.

And the home side were straight into their opponents from the off, with a Nathan Byrne cross being deflected just wide of the far post.

The respite for Southend was only temporary, however, as Latics took the lead with only 11 minutes gone.

Jacobs pulled the trigger from 30 yards and, although the shot took a massive deflection on the way in, he didn’t seem to care as he milked the celebrations.

Latics were almost in again when a defence-splitting pass from Max Power was agonisingly just too heavy for Jacobs, with Oxley racing off his line to clear.

Power himself then tried his luck from distance, and it flew just wide...of the corner flag, resulting in a throw-in to Southend and a red face for the Latics midfielder.

Lovely footwork from Byrne saw the right-back cut into the box on to his left foot, and it required an excellent save by Oxley to keep the ball out.

Southend held on until the break, but Latics picked up where they’d left off after the interval.

Poor defending from the visitors allowed Will Grigg to feed Jacobs, who beat three defenders with a lovely drop of the shoulder, only for Oxley to save brilliantly.

There was a flashpoint on the hour mark as McGlashan flew in two-footed on Elder in centre-field, the Wigan man being fortunate to see the contact coming to take evasive action, or he could easily have broken a leg.

The red card was inevitable, and made Southend’s task even more difficult.

Toney replaced Grigg to introduce fresh legs up top, and the new man was immediately into the game, heading an Elder cross back into the path of Powell, who ought to have at least hit the target instead of volleying miles over from 10 yards.

Powell’s attempts to make amends were thwarted when his vision should have allowed Gavin Massey to play in the unmarked Toney, only for the final ball to be way off the mark.

Latics were given a scare as the game headed into the final quarter, when a slack ball from Power suddenly gave the visitors a three-on-three break, which was only snuffed out by a crucial interception by Chey Dunkley.

Having dodged a bullet, Latics quickly wrapped up the game in style with two more goals inside the last six minutes.

First Roberts sent Powell through to round Oxley and slide the ball home with ease.

Then Toney took advantage of another smart piece of play by Roberts to beat Oxley from close range - to ensure a far more accurate look to the scoreboard.