Wigan Athletic Power back to top of table after win at Gillingham

Wigan Athletic returned to the top of Sky Bet League One after an impressive 2-0 win at Gillingham in torrential conditions.

Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 8:25 am
Charlie Wyke in action for Latics

Goals from Max Power and Tendayi Darikwa in the second period were enough to help Latics record the victory, and leapfrog Sunderland following their away defeat at Portsmouth

Leam Richardson named an unchanged starting XI for the fifth straight league match at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

It was Latics who had the first chance of the afternoon through Lang after the forward won a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the area following a mazy run, though his driven effort was gathered by Gills goalkeeper Jamie Cumming in the 18th minute.

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Lang's early chance sparked the visitors into life, with Latics having a fortunate escape at the other end, after Jack Whatmough failed to control a long ball over the top which led to Vadaine Oliver finding himself clean through on goal. Fortunately for Richardson's side, Oliver mistimed his first touch, and the ball rolled into the hands of Ben Amos.

Amos was called into action once again in the 22nd minute, with the goalkeeper making two excellent saves in quick succession from Danny Lloyd's windswept free-kick and John Akinde's close-range effort.

It was then Latics' turn to threaten, with Cumming's punch falling at the feet of Will Keane, though the attacking midfielder saw his audacious chip comfortably collected by the recovering goalkeeper.

Lang was a constant menace for Latics in the first half, and he threatened in the 41st minute after a well-worked move involving Max Power and Charlie Wyke ended with the 23-year-old, but his effort flew just wide of the post.

Latics searched to break the deadlock as the first half came to an end, with James McClean’s teasing cross being cleared behind for a corner by Rhys Bennett for a corner before Tom Naylor looped a backward header over the crossbar from the resulting set piece.

Power then fired a low cross towards goal after Keane sent him into space on the right channel, with the delivery taking a nick of a Gills defender, but Cumming reacted well to thwart the effort on the stroke of halftime.

Gillingham started the second period the brightest and forced an early opportunity in the 51st minute after Akinde headed David Tutonda's cross towards goal, but Amos was more than equal to deny the effort.

After surviving the early period of pressure, Latics started to grow into the second period, with Lang hitting a half-volley wide after McClean's deep free-kick was deflected out to him on the edge of the area.

The away side took the lead at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium in the 65th minute after Power headed McClean's outstanding cross from the left through the legs of Cumming at the back post.

Gillingham responded well to falling behind, with a cross from the right rolling all the way to Tutonda at the back post, but the defender sliced his effort over the crossbar. Equally, Latics did not rest on their laurels and looked to add a second, with Keane flicking Naylor’s cross onto the roof of the net in the 73rd minute.

Latics sealed the victory in the 83rd minute after excellent work from substitute Gavin Massey split the two defenders to release captain Tendayi Darikwa on the left channel, with the latter finding Keane with a low cross to double Richardson’s side lead in the South East.