Wigan Athletic 5 Bolton Wanderers 2

Wonderful Wigan Athletic put beleaguered Bolton Wanderers to the sword in a thrilling goal-fest that could easily have reached double figures.

Saturday, 16th March 2019, 4:20 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 3:48 pm
Joe Garner celebrates scoring the opening goal

From the moment Joe Garner opened the scoring in the fourth minute, from Reece James' inswinging free-kick, it was clear the 'real' Latics had shown up, after weeks of frustration and disappointment.Despite Latics' dominance in all areas, it took until 51 minutes for the second goal to arrive, through Gavin Massey.

But Nick Powell made it three four minutes later, with a goal that will be shown around the world for its sheer comedy value.

Bolton goalkeeper Remi Matthews didn't see Michael Jacobs behind him before dropping the ball from his hands on the edge of the box, with the Latics man simply squaring it to Powell for the easiest of tap-ins.Gary O'Neil pulled one back for Wanderers just after the hour mark, but Jacobs made it 4-1 with 21 minutes remaining with a brilliant strike.

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Sammy Ameobi scored Wanderers' second goal with 10 minutes left, but substitute Leon Clarke headed home from Nathan Byrne's cross within seconds to make the game safe.

Byrne then hit the post in the closing stages after a mazy run, with Jacobs - on three occasions - Powell and Sam Morsy all coming close to adding further goals.

With Rotherham losing and Reading drawing, Latics are now three points clear of the drop zone, climbing two places to 19th, heading into the international break.And with confidence levels now restored, they'll be hoping their brush with the drop has been and gone.

Right from the off, Latics were up for the challenge of derby day against the old enemy.

Jacobs skinned Jason Lowe twice inside the opening four minutes, the second occasion bringing about a booking for the Bolton right-back.

And Reece James made him pay twice over by floating in a lovely set-piece that Garner headed into the roof of the net.

Lowe's miserable afternoon lasted only eight minutes, with him being forced off after a bang to the head.

After former Latics loan man Callum Connolly headed Bolton's first opportunity over, ex-Wanderers loan man Antonee Robinson almost went one better at the other end.

The USA international cut into the box on his right foot, but saw his shot tipped round the post by Matthews.

A wonderful cross from Massey would have created another golden chance had Garner or Jacobs gambled, with Cedric Kipre also heading just over from a James corner.

At half-time the only criticism would have been that Latics' dominance hadn't been rewarded by further goals.

But that was put right within 10 minutes of the restart - and how!

Massey took delivery of a sublime through ball from Powell before finding the net via a kiss off the near post.

Then, in slapstick fashion, Powell scored the easiest goal of his career after Matthews gifted possession to Jacobs on a silver platter.

With the floodgates threatening to open, Latics were checked just after the hour mark when O'Neil fired past Walton to make it 3-1.

But Latics remained on the front foot and Jacobs sent a stinging strike inches wide from distance.

Jacobs was then denied by a stupendous save from Matthews, after great work from Powell, who also teed up Morsy, only for the skipper's touch to let him down.

The Bolton goal was living a charmed life, though, and number four eventually arrived courtesy of Jacobs, with a rasping drive that Matthews couldn't get near.

Credit the Trotters, they kept their heads up and Walton somehow kept out a Connolly effort with his left leg.

But the Latics goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Ameobi reducing the arrears to two again, and a grandstand last 10 minutes looked to be on the cards.

However, instead of dropping deep to protect what they had, Latics stayed on the offensive and were rewarded for their enterprise.

Substitute Clarke - on for Garner - rose at the far post to nod home a delicious delivery from Byrne.

And the full-back was inches away from added his name to the scoresheet, only to send a bending effort against the far post in the closing stages.