WIGAN Robin Park came from behind to beat AFC Darwen 3-1 on Saturday to increase their lead at the top of the first division table to six points.
In a scrappy game, where the Robins never truly found their rhythm, Darwen took the lead after 12 minutes when Bobby Langford pounced on an error by Ben Kay to beat Jay Foulds at the near post.
Moments later Foulds had to be at his best to deny the dangerous Langford as he tipped the ball around the post.
On 25 minutes Steve Edwards settled the Robins’ nerves when he finished neatly to bring them level.
The remainder of the half was hard work for the spectators as Wigan struggled to string two passes together.
If the half-time whistle couldn’t come quick enough for the spectators then the same could be said for the management and a half-time talking-to did the business.
Within six minutes of the restart Kay made amends for his earlier error as he headed home from 15 yards.
A flowing move saw Ryan Small find Michael Sykes-Wright whose cross was met superbly by Kay.
The assistant referee flagged for offside but he was overruled by the referee as a Darwen player, lying injured, played the Robins’ midfielder onside.
With the visitors arguing with the officials Wigan took full advantage, going straight back up the field with a crisp move before Phil Howard stabbed the ball home for his 30th goal of the season.
The Robins had further chances when Edwards tried his luck on goal when a simple pass would have meant an easy tap-in for Howard, Small hit the post causing a melee in the box before the ball was cleared off the line by a defender, then Dougie Pitts’ acrobatic volley went just over the bar.
Darwen rallied at the end and Foulds again had to be at his best but the Robins held their lead to capture the three points.
After the game manager John Neafcy [left] was relieved to get the win but disappointed with the performance.
He said: “I’m just pleased we scored when we did in the first-half as up until then we didn’t look like getting anything from the game. We were better in the second-half but whether it was due to the defeat in the cup during the week or not, we just weren’t at the races. But it’s three more points closer to where we want to be so I’ve got to be positive.”
The Robins next two league games are away from home.
They travel to Nelson tonight (Wednesday) kick off 7.45pm, then on Saturday (14th) they make the short trip to Daisy Hill (3pm).
Last Wednesday night Norton United came from behind to beat the Robins 3-1 in the First Division Trophy final.
Ryan Small had fired the Wigan outfit in front with a 30-yard screamer in the 37th minute, but two extra-time goals won it for Norton.