Will Grigg’s officially back on fire...and Wigan Athletic are into the fifth round of the FA Cup after a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over Premier League West Ham!
After dumping out top-flight opposition in the third round, in the shape of Bournemouth, Latics repeated the trick with another sensational showing against David Moyes’ Hammers.
Right from the off, Latics were right at it and played their opponents off the park, with another fantastic rearguard effort ensuring goalkeeper Christian Walton had very little to do.
Grigg scored the opening goal with only seven minutes gone, heading home Nathan Byrne’s right-wing cross past Joe Hart, who was being watched by England boss Gareth Southgate in the directors box.
It was almost 2-0 to Latics within seconds, when centre-back Chey Dunkley finished home from close range, only to turn and see the flag up for offside against Grigg, who’d flicked Max Power’s cross on.
But the Northern Ireland international did double the lead from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, after former Latics loanee Reece Burke had handled the ball in the box.
Despite Hart trying to get into the striker’s head by making him re-spot the ball, Grigg smashed it down the middle of the goal, embarrassing the goalkeeper who’d dived way too early.
It could and should have been even more, with the exceptional Nick Powell narrowly failing to convert a Byrne cross from a couple of yards in the final quarter.
At the other end, Latics goalkeeper Walton didn’t have a single effort on goal to deal with.
Only once did the visitors threaten when, after a rare mistake from Dan Burn, Toni Martinez crossed to Javier Hernandez, who saw two shots somehow blocked by Sam Morsy, before Reece Orford’s follow-up almost cleared the roof of the South Stand.
And West Ham’s afternoon was summed up by the second-half sending-off of Arthur Masuaku for spitting at Powell on the near touchline - an act later described as ‘despicable’ by his own manager.
By then the visitors were already chasing shadows - and happy to hear the final whistle to end their torment.
With a season-high figure of 14,194 fans inside the DW, generating a fabulous atmosphere, Latics immediately picked up where they’d left off in the last round against Bournemouth.
Having been boosted by Grigg’s early opener, Latics could have been out of sight inside 10 minutes, only for an offside flag to put a dampener on the celebrations of Dunkley, who thought he’d made it two from close range.
Wigan were playing so well there were cries of ‘OLE’ from the stands during one period of keep-ball, with manager Cook even joining in from the technical area!
After more good play, Powell fired just over from the edge of the box, with West Ham struggling to put two passes together.
On a rare venture into the Latics box, from a corner, Walton came for the ball and flapped at it, and was extremely relieved to see the ball hacked away by a team-mate.
A mistake from Burn then opened the door for Martinez to feed Hernandez, but the former Manchester United man was twice denied by Morsy before Orford blazed miles over from the edge of the box.
The only worry for Latics at the break would have been their dominance had only brought a single goal to show for it.
But a promising start to the second period from West Ham was crushed by the sending-off of Masuaku for spitting at Powell, which brought players from both teams together for a bit of pushing and shoving which quickly dispersed.
Latics took advantage of their man advantage by doubling the lead, albeit in fortuitous circumstances, when Burke was adjudged to have handled in the box, and Grigg made him pay the ultimate price.
After that it was only ever a question of how many Latics would score.
And it would have been at least one more had Powell not inexplicably fluffed his lines from two yards after another pinpoint cross from Byrne.
But it hardly mattered.
Let’s save some goals for the next round...and hopefully the one after that!