Manager and matchwinner both hail Wigan Athletic 'fanfare' which tipped balance
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Dozens of Latics fans made the effort to arrive at the DW a couple of hours before kick-off to welcome the players into the stadium.
And it had its desired effect as Latics recorded a second shut-out on the bounce under Maloney, before Whatmough popped up with 10 minutes to go to head home the only goal - which takes Latics up two places to 22nd in the Championship.
"From driving in before the game, when I saw the amount of fans waiting for us, you knew it was going to be a special day," said Whatmough.
"Seeing them in the car park, clapping us into the stadium, it made me really think: 'This is big'.
"These are the games you want to be playing in as a footballer.
"There was pressure, but you have to enjoy that pressure, and I felt we dealt with it well enough to win the game."
Maloney added: "What I'm seeing is a real connection between the supporters and the players, and I need to say a huge thank you for that.
"There were moments today we were just okay, but they dug deep and we finished very strong. It was a real joint effort.
"I've spoken about this since I came in, but I'm very lucky I have a history here.
"It's almost given me that feeling immediately, and it hopefully it's given the fans that feeling as well."