Match report: Wigan Athletic 8, Hull City 0
The Latics, in all sorts of trouble off the pitch and facing a 12-point deduction after the club was placed into administration earlier this month, produced arguably the best half of football seen anywhere this season in English football.
Paul Cook’s men put seven goals past a hapless Hull City without reply in the opening 45 minutes at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night.
Eventually winning 8-0 - a club record - after adding an eighth goal in the second 45 minutes.
Billed as a relegation six-pointer beforehand, the Latics showed just how false their position is with a wonderful display of attacking football.
Goals from Kal Naismith, Kieran Dowell (2), Kieffer Moore (2), Jamal Lowe and Joe Williams ensured the three points were sewn-up as the hosts returned to their dressing room at the interval.
For the shell-shocked visitors, sucking on their half-time oranges must have tasted like the bitterest lemon as they contemplated a first-half horror show.
Dowell then completed his hat-trick in the second half with the goal of the night to make it a night to remember for the hosts.
Bizarrely though, the result sees the Latics edge above Hull, out of the Championship relegation zone, on goal difference.
But this result will surely see the Latics go on to secure their survival with Saturday’s trip to Charlton to come followed by the visit of Fulham in midweek.
The Latics sprung out of the traps from the first whistle and midfielder Joe Williams stung the palms of George Long who turned his 25-yard effort around the post.
From the resulting corner, Leonardo Da Silva Lopes was forced into heading behind after Kieran Dowell's dangerous delivery.
From the next corner, the Latics took the lead inside the second minute.
Dowell decided to play a short one with skipper Sam Morsy. When the ball was returned to the former, he produced a bit of magic to jink past two defenders before standing an inviting cross up to the back post where Kal Naismith was waiting to nod into an empty net.
Naismith almost made it 2-0 four minutes later when he found himself with time and space outside the box, but curled his effort just wide of the far post.
The hosts really should have made it 2-0 inside 12 minutes when Jamal Lowe was put clear but with the visiting keeper advancing towards him, he scuffed his shot agonisingly wide of the near post
There was no let-up from the fired-up home side and Long was forced into saving at his near post after Kieffer Moore's volley from an acute angle after Dowell's teasing left-wing centre.
All that good work of the opening 25 minutes almost went to waste in calamitous fashion for the hosts.
Goalkeeper David Marshall was almost led red-faced when his poor clearance fell straight to Jan Toral 30 yards out. But with the goal at his mercy and the goalkeeper out of position, the Hull forward failed to get a good connection on his shot and Kipre was able to mop up.
That was to be the only blemish of a breathtaking first half as the Latics continued to pour forward.
They made it 2-0 in the 28th minute when Lamal cross from the right to Moore, who controlled before slotting past Long from a slight angle.
It was almost 3-0 a minute later when Naismith ran clear but his right-foot shot cannoned against the post and away to safety.
They did not have to wait long for their next goal. Morsy and Lowe combined to set up Dowell on the edge of the area who had time to take a touch before volleying into the corner in the 33rd minute.
Four minutes later, Cook's men were celebrating their fourth when Byrne played the ball into Lowe and the Latics striker showed a fleet of foot before tucking the ball past Long.
If that was bad for the visitors, it was to get far worse in the final five minutes of the half as the home side ran in a further three goals.
It was another assist for Byrne as his cross from the right was met by a diving header from Moore eight-yards out.
Five-nil soon became six as the Latics swarmed forward, Dowell smashing home from the edge of the area- his strike taking a deflection on its way past Long.
That goal saw one radio commentator of a Humberside persuasion in the press box denounce the visitors performance as the worst he has ever seen.
Few could disagree with his assertion and there was more pain to come for McCann's men as J Williams made it 7-0 in the first minute of stoppage time.
The Latics' midfielder shot hard and low into the bottom corner from outside the area past a hapless Long.
Surely there was not going to be a repeat in the second half, although Antonee Robinson almost set the ball rolling when his right-foot shot from 25-yards struck the top of the crossbar.
Substitute Lee Evans fired wide in the 59th minute when he should have perhaps played in Naismith.
Just when Cook thought the night could not get any better for his side, Dowell completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute with the goal of the night.
Byrne’s right-wing centre was met on the volley by the play-maker, who opened his body up before deflecting the ball with his left foot - the ball crashing in off the crossbar.
With the game well and truly won, the Latics sat back and the visitors pushed forward.
In the 68th minute, Lowe cleared Tom Eaves header off the line and the same player then saw his effort saved by Marshall soon after.
In the 78th minute, the referee Tony Harrington bizarrely awarded a penalty after Eaves had been challenged by Byrne, but rightly changed his mind as it was the Wigan man who had been fouled.
WIGAN: David Marshall, Nathan Byrne, Antonee Robinson ( Tom Pearce 56), Cedric Kipre, Leon Balogun (Alex Dobre 78), Sam Morsy, Joe Williams (Lee Evans 56), Kieran Dowell (Gary Roberts 71), Kal Naismith, Jamal Lowe, Kieffer Moore ( Gavin Massey 56)
SUBS: Jamie Jones, Lewis Macleod, Joe Gelhardt, Jan Mlakar,,Emeka Obi.
HULL: George Long, Jordy de Wijs, Reece Burke, Jan Toral (Kevin Stewart 45), George Honeyman, Josh Bowler (Daniel Batty 35), Matthew Pennington (Ryan Tafazolli 45), Callum Elder, Josh Magennis (Keane Lewis-Potter 51), Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, Mallik Wilks (Tom Eaves 45)
SUBS: Matt Ingram, Angus MacDonald, Sean McLoughlin, James Scott
Booked: Honeyman, Toral