Wigan Athletic 3 Doncaster Rovers 0
Ryan Colclough scored two goals - before racing down the tunnel to become a dad for the second time - as Wigan Athletic got back on track with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers.
It was child’s play for the winger on his return to the first team, doubling the Latics lead on the stroke of half-time with a fine individual effort, before making it three just before the hour mark with a diving header.
With the game in the bag, Colclough was immediately replaced by Gavin Massey, and left the DW Stadium in his kit and boots to join his partner in hospital to welcome baby number two to the world!
After Saturday’s disappointing home defeat to Bradford, it was the perfect response from Latics, who move back up to within a point of leaders Shrewsbury, who were surprisingly defeated by rock-bottom Bury.
Michael Jacobs scored the first goal and made the third, with goalkeeper Jamie Jones also getting back into the ‘clean sheet’ swing after a hiccup on Saturday.
Latics certainly looked like a side with a point to prove as they flew out of the traps.
With less than a minute on the clock, Jacobs worked himself a shooting opportunity through the left channel, but his shot was well saved by Ian Lawlor.
Having become the first side to prevent high-flying Fleetwood from scoring at home at the weekend, Rovers would also have arrived with confidence.
And there was plenty of power in James Coppinger’s near-post shot that Jones did well to parry over.
Tommy Rowe fired wide for Rovers from a good position before Latics were screaming for a penalty on the 20-minute mark.
A Jacobs cross fell invitingly for Max Power’s first-time shot, which looked to be blocked by the arm of Andy Butler, but the referee waved play on.
Rovers pair Jordan Houghton and Joe Wright were both shown yellow cards in quick succession by the official, the latter for a really nasty foul on Colclough, as the game got a bit scrappy.
With tempers fraying, Paul Cook and Leam Richardson were both warned by referee Carl Boyeson for being too vocal in their thoughts on his officiating.
Latics created a great chance seven minutes before the interval, when Reece James’ deep cross, found Jacobs, whose bullet header flew a yard over the top.
But the forward showed no mercy seconds later when, after good work from Power, he fired into the bottom corner of the visitors’ net to open the scoring.
To be fair to Doncaster, their heads didn’t drop, and they ought to have levelled within four minutes.
A deep cross to the far post was headed back into the path of John Marquis, who took a massive swing only to barely connect, the ball trickling through to Jones.
And Latics made the visitors pay for their profligacy by doubling the lead on the stroke of the interval in style.
It was a goal of Colclough’s own making, the ex-Crewe man cutting in from the left, and beating two defenders, before firing past Lawlor via a slight deflection.
Rovers gave it a go at the start of the second period, with Rowe’s cross finding Rodney Kongolo at the far post.
But his shot flicked wide off Jones - and that was about it from the visitors.
It was 3-0 on 57 minutes with an inviting Jacobs cross being met by Colclough - who was immediately replaced by Massey, with his work - at least in his day job - having been done for the night.
The final half-hour was merely a procession as Latics kept the ball well and Rovers didn’t look too keen to try to get it off them.
Will Grigg - restored to the starting line-up for Ivan Toney - might have made it four in the closing stages, only to fire over the bar from the penalty spot.
But the job had well and truly been done, ahead of Saturday’s testing trip to promotion rivals Rotherham.