Wigan Athletic 1 Millwall 0

Joe Garner
Joe Garner

Joe Garner scored the only goal to ensure Wigan Athletic finished the season in 18th place in the Championship - a whopping TWELVE points clear of the drop zone - after victory over Millwall.

Paul Cook's men came right just when it mattered and, having worryingly dropped into the bottom three over Easter, finished comfortably clear of trouble.

Garner was in the right place at the right time to convert from close range after Nick Powell's effort had been parried out by David Martin.

And the home side could have had more in a fine display with which to close the campaign, with Garner, Powell and Anthony Pilkington - who saw a goal rightly chalked off for offside - coming close.

But the visitors, too, had chances, with Lee Gregory in particular being denied on several occasions, and former two-time Latics loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe steering wide of a partially-open goal.
In the end, though, Latics were good value for the win that sees them secure Championship safety for the first time in three attempts at this level.

And there wasn't a dry eye in the house with two minutes to go when Reece James - made captain for the day - was substituted to a standing ovation from three sides of the DW Stadium.

Millwall had been first out of the traps with Tunnicliffe feeding Gregory, whose shot was miles off the target.

But Latics were quickly into their stride with Garner testing Martin from distance and Antonee Robinson's cross sailing only inches in front of the unmarked Pilkington.

The Millwall defence finally cracked on the 15-minute mark when Garner was on the spot to fire home after Powell had seen his effort repelled by Martin.

Garner and Powell were dovetailing nicely in attack, and Garner wanted a penalty from Wigan's next attack, which saw his shot seemingly deflected away by a hand.

Referee Andy Woomer thought otherwise, but Latics were grateful to the whistle-blower for disallowing a Millwall 'goal' by Ryan Leonard - from Shaun Williams' corner - for a push.

Millwall were denied again when Jake Cooper's shot was hacked off the line by, of all people, Powell.

And Latics were indebted to Christian Walton for a magnificent save to deny Gregory, although Tunnicliffe might have done better with the rebound that missed the target completely.

Gregory was then unable to convert a fine cross from Tunnicliffe, before Pilkington saw a 'goal' at the other end chalked off for offside.

Latics sent on 17-year-old Charlie Jolley on for his debut, and the youngster was quickly into the action, trying his luck twice from distance and showing some nice enterprise.
Callum McManaman - out of contract this summer - appeared for the final 15 minutes to a fabulous reception.

But even that was beaten in the dying seconds when, as planned, James was withdrawn to take his applause from the home supporters, in recognition for a season-long loan spell that will never be forgotten in these parts.