Wigan Athletic 2 Fleetwood Town 0

Wigan Athletic have moved four points clear at the top of League One after seeing off Uwe Rosler's Fleetwood 2-0 at the DW Stadium.

Saturday, 9th December 2017, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:01 pm
Nick Powell

While the scoreline might suggest a relatively close contest, in reality Latics were in cruise control for the majority.

Had the need arisen, Paul Cook’s men had several gears still to find that would surely have got the job done if required.

Top scorer Nick Powell - back in the starting side after a three-game absence - scored the opening goal inside seven minutes, heading home from Lee Evans’ superb cross.

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Fleetwood threatened an equaliser within three minutes when Ashley Eastham’s flick header from George Glendon’s corner bounced off the top of the bar.

But the points were safe seven minutes before half-time, when Evans supplied a curling free-kick which was headed home brilliantly by centre-back Dan Burn.

The second half was mostly played at training-ground pace, with Latics mindful of the gruelling festive period ahead, and Fleetwood unable to find the goal that would have made for an interesting finale.

Substitute Ivan Toney almost made it three in stoppage-time, only for Town goalkeeper Alex Cairns to make a fine save with his legs.

The on-loan Newcastle man was then rumoured to have been involved in an altercation with an opponent as the players made their way down the tunnel, but by then the points were more than safely in the bag.

Right from the off, Latics made light work of a potential banana skin of a fixture.

They were given the perfect start with only seven minutes on the clock, when Powell rose highest to direct an Evans cross into the roof of the net.

Credit Fleetwood for their response, and they were inches away from a leveller with their next attack.

Glendon’s corner found Eastham at the near post, and the big defender’s flick header diverted towards the far post, only to kiss the bar on the way over.

The visitors wasted an even bigger opportunity to equalise on the half-hour mark, when Jack Sowerby led a two-on-one break, but inexplicably failed to give it to the supporting Devante Cole, virtually falling over his own feet before he managed to get a shot away.

Town showed they weren’t going to sit back and let Latics play, with Markus Schwabl and Kyle Dempsey yellow-carded in quick succession for cropping Evans and Powell.

But Evans exacted the perfect revenge on 38 minutes when his free-kick was headed into the top corner by the imposing figure of Burn.

Evans almost made it three in first-half stoppage-time, only to fire narrowly wide, with Town happy to hang on for the half-time whistle.

The visitors threw on Jordy Hiwula - who spent time on loan with Latics two years ago - at the interval, and the striker was only just off target with his opening chance within seconds of the restart.

At the other end, Powell fired wide via what looked to be a deflection, with the referee awarding a goal-kick rather than the corner most inside the DW were claiming for.

In an attempt to liven things up, Max Power and Gavin Massey took over from Will Grigg and Ryan Colclough, with Powell then giving way for Toney.

But the final quarter was little more than a procession, with the visitors unable to muster anything to trouble the returning Christian Walton in the Latics goal, and Toney finding only the legs of the goalkeeper with his final sight at goal.