Wigan Athletic kicked off their Championship campaign with a 4-0 demolition of Barnsley at Oakwell. Owen Coyle’s team were dominant throughout and showed both commitment and quality against an initially combative Yorkshire outfit.
Ben Watson opened the scoring with a precise twenty-five yard drive on 37 minutes and Grant Holt was on hand to deflect Emmerson Boyce’s shot for 2-0, before Barnsley’s recent signing from Bayern Munich, Dale Jennings was dismissed for a stamp on James McArthur.
Wigan’s dominance was further demonstrated by a debut goal for Leon Barnett and a sublime passing move which was well finished by Shaun Maloney.
In brilliant sunshine Latics started the 2013/14 season in fine form and pressed the home team back into their own half. Jean Beausejour’s left-wing cross reached Shaun Maloney and the Scotsman’s shot was saved by Luke Steele’s legs in the Barnsley goal.
Wigan gained a deserved lead when new signing Stephen Crainey set up Watson twenty-five yards out and the accomplished midfielder placed his shot in the bottom corner.
Soon afterwards he showed similar quality by penetrating the Barnsley defence and releasing Maloney. The Scot tried to find the unmarked Holt but his pass was uncharacteristically heavy and the ball fell to Beausejour who skewed his shot wide
However, the Chilean delivered the corner for the second goal, Watson first flicked it on and Boyce’s shot was deflected by Holt into the net.
Barnsley’s response to Wigan’s supremacy was to introduce new signing Dale Jennings from Bayern Munich, but he only lasted five minutes when a two-footed challenge on James McArthur was deemed worthy of a red card by the referee Geoff Eltrigham.
Wigan preceded to make the man advantage count by passing the ball to great effect and it was no surprise when the lead was doubled. First Barnett added Wigan’s third goal following a corner and then Maloney completed the rout with a tap-in after fine work from substitute Marc-Antoine Fortuné.
It was an enjoyable and satisfying start to Latics Championship campaign but the fans should be aware that there will be more difficult and challenging games ahead.