Leam Richardson admitted Will Grigg would have been denied his fourth career hat-trick - the highlight of Wigan Athletic’s 5-1 triumph over MK Dons - had the ball been booted out of play sooner!
Grigg’s 21st, 22nd and 23rd goals of the season broke the back of his former club, helping Latics back up to second spot in League One, two points behind leaders Blackburn with a crucial game in hand.
But had fate decided otherwise, Grigg would have been sitting on the bench – having been replaced by substitute James Vaughan – by the time he took delivery of Michael Jacobs’ delicious pass to round off a great win 14 minutes from time.
“Ha yes, we were about to bring him off before he scored his third goal,” revealed the Latics assistant boss, sent out for media duties by Paul Cook.
“We were having a discussion with Vaughany about whether he should stay on, because he was dying to get his hat-trick - and thankfully he did.”
Nick Powell also chipped in with his 15th goal of the season, with an own goal for MK Dons defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell rounding off the scoring.
And while Grigg and Powell have attracted most of the headlines all season, Richardson chose to hail the rest of the team for the collective effort - in particular Michael Jacobs and Gavin Massey.
“I thought Michael and Gavin were excellent today, and probably deserved a goal each for their efforts,” Richardson enthused.
“The headlines will go to Griggy and Powelly, but the lads on the outside didn’t half work their socks off.
“It’s a great scoreline, but that doesn’t happen without the work ethic and desire to get the goals.
“When you’ve got someone like Will up front, you know he’ll finish them off if you create that many chances.
“You don’t really have to speak about Nick’s qualities.
“What people don’t often speak about is his hard work on the pitch, and the amount of ground he covers.
“Having on the pitch is great for everybody, and Will would be the first to admit that.”
It was the perfect response to the 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth on Easter Monday that saw Latics drop from first to third in the table.
“We didn’t feel we did much wrong at Portsmouth,” Richardson added.
“Big decisions went against us, and the important thing was to bounce back - which we did.
“We said at half-time that, apart from the goal we conceded, the only downside was that we hadn’t scored more goals.
“We were getting enough 18-yard box entries, but we weren’t being anywhere near ruthless enough to put them away.
“We didn’t want to be leaving it to the next man to get the job done, we were looking for certain others to step up and gain control of the game - and thankfully we managed to get the job done in the end.”