We'd have lost this game two weeks ago - Wigan Athletic ace

Chris MerrieChris Merrie
Chris Merrie
Chris Merrie admits Wigan Athletic's fledgling side is learning important lessons on the job after seeing off Accrington by the odd goal in seven.

Latics picked up their second win inside a week to move off the foot of League One with a deserved three points.

After a blistering opening to the game, which saw them race into a 3-0 lead inside 32 minutes, Latics found themselves hanging on at the end after Accrington fought their way back in.

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Thankfully the side held on - and Academy graduate Merrie says it's symbolic of the players becoming more game-smart as they settle into senior football.

“It comes with experience," he acknowledged. "A couple of weeks ago we may have lost that game or maybe have drawn the game.

"But we showed great character and it’s just all good for us.

“It’s a massive win for all of us and a great performance, especially in the first half to score three goals against a great team that was in form.

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“It’s a massive win. We made it a little bit difficult for ourselves at the end, but we’re all buzzing."

Latics' growing understanding and belief at this level was shown for the third goal, when Merrie - usually a holding midfielder - found himself racing into the box, where he was upended for a penalty which allowed Will Keane to make it 3-0.

“The staff have said to go and have no fear and to go and express ourselves," he said. "I was quite high up the pitch when I won the penalty...I’m usually the insurance for the full backs!

"But it was good to nearly score as well."

Merrie's partnership in the engine room with fellow club product Alex Perry is becoming more solid every week - underlining the fabulous work done behind the scenes over the years by Gregor Rioch and his Academy staff.

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“Alex and I know each other like the back of our hands as we have played a lot together," added Merrie.

“I’ve probably been here the longest out of the Academy graduates, it’s been a long time.

"But I’m just enjoying every minute, and hopefully we can keep on progressing and getting these good wins.

“Gregor is so proud of us and the Academy lads.

“He’s made up with us winning, and all the younger lads playing with Ollie (Crankshaw) and Charlie (Jolley) coming on.

"Everyone is part of it so he is definitely made up.”

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