Wigan Athletic: Talking points from Accrington Stanley (h)
Paul Kendrick reflects on five talking points from Wigan Athletic's 3-0 victory over Accrington Stanley in midweek...
1 Three-sy does it!
Not for the first time this season, Latics had to play their way into the game before their undoubted quality shone through. Possibly a case of 'After The Lord Mayor's Show' following the derby with Bolton, the quiet start on the field was mirrored in the stands, with quite a few season ticket holders electing to give it the swerve. But after the visitors had failed to make the most of a couple of decent chances, the East Stand really cranked up the volume, the players took the lead, and they never looked back. And from the moment Joe Bennett opened the scoring eight minutes before the break, it was only ever a case of 'how many'. With goal difference possibly a factor in the final reckoning, Latics will perhaps be rueing not taking more of the several chances they created in the closing stages.
2 No ordinary Joe!
It's been one long season of frustration for Joe Bennett following his summer signing from Cardiff. The left-back, who'd only previously played in the top two tiers, had been out for several months with a serious knee injury. But a succession of minor problems not linked to that have limited his game time this term. However, with James McClean and Tom Pearce sidelined, he's picked the perfect time to step up to the plate. His free-kick was simply sublime - and he could easily have completed a hat-trick. Bennett is also the subject of a great Latics quiz question - being the only player at the club to have played in the club's last ever Premier League match, in May 2013. For opponents Aston Villa!
3 Keane is able!
It may have been the easiest goal of his career - a tap-in after the Accy goalkeeper dropped a Max Power free-kick at his feet - but Will Keane now has 20 league goals for the season. Not bad for a player who doesn't play as a recognised centre-forward. Even more impressive considering it's only one short of the 29-year-old's career total prior total this term. There's never been any doubt over the quality of a player who was once the goal machine of a Manchester United youth side that included the likes of brother Michael, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison. What he's managed to do during his time with Latics is remain on the field for a sustained run of games, thanks to careful management of his body, and the introduction of a mind coach who he credits as improving the psychological side of his make-up. Long may it continue!
4 Top of the pops!
Latics are finally back on top of League One, after weeks and months of playing catch-up - in terms of fixtures, as well as points - on long-time leaders Rotherham. The Millers, in fact, slipped to third in midweek, thanks to MK Dons' victory over Crewe. They have a couple of games in hand over Franchise FC but, having won only one of their last five league games, the pressure is suddenly on after months of frontrunning. It's still in Rotherham's own hands, but we'll see how Paul Warne's men respond to it.
5 One for the road!
Of the seven remaining league games, FIVE are on the road. Thankfully, Latics possess the best away record in League One, with a staggering win percentage of 67 per cent. Saturday's opponents Lincoln have the fifth worst home record in the division, so let's hope another bumper following from Wigan is treated to one more unforgettable away day - of which there have already been many this term.