Wigan ended their woeful season with a 3-0 defeat as Brentford convincingly moved into the Championship play-offs.
The Bees took the lead through Alex Pritchard’s deflected first half free-kick. Jota’s goal early in the second half took Brentford into fifth place, above Ipswich Town on goals scored, before Andre Gray made it 3-0.
James Tarkowski’s late penalty was well saved by Latics keeper Lee Nicholls but the Bees sealed fifth spot as Ipswich lost 3-2 at Blackburn.
Brentford will now face Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off semi final.
Gary Caldwell made four changes to his starting line-up with Billy Mckay starting for the first the first time since his move from Inverness Caledonian Thistle in January and Lee Nicholls making his first appearance for Latics in 18 months. Other changes saw starts for Don Cowie and Marc-Antoine Fortune.
Latics were cheered on by a thousand plus following and there was a lively atmosphere in the away end.
Latics started well and Fortune forced a save from Bees keeper David Button after just three minutes before Gaetan Bong tried his luck from distance. Fortune then had the ball in the back in the net on 19 minutes but the goal was ruled out after the linesman judged the ball had gone out of play before Bong pulled it back. James Perch then fired in a 25 yard effort that was deflected for a corner.
But the game turned in Brentford’s favour on 26 minutes when Alex Pritchard’s 30 yard free-kick was deflected off the Wigan wall and into the top corner of Nicholls’ goal. It was a huge body blow to Latics and the players heads noticeably dropped.
Brentford now started to take control of the game with their slick passing and good movement. Latics by contrast were laboured in their build up play.
Brentford went into the interval with the one goal advantage but the points were sealed for the Bees within seconds of the restart when Jota ran through the Wigan defence and slotted past Nicholls.
Wigan should have reduced the deficit almost immediately Mckay had a shot in the area but the ball hit Jake Bidwell and Button managed to save the deflected effort on his goal-line.
Results were going in Brentford’s favour elsewhere and the tide of pressure on the Latics goal increased. Dean fired over the crossbar for the Bees but it only looked a matter of time before they would add to the lead.
Brentford did score their third on 80 minutes when Andre Gray finished from inside the area after a neat interchange. Don Cowie then upended Alan Judge in the box but James Tarkowski’s penalty was well saved by Nicholls diving to his right.
Latics had been thoroughly outplayed in the second half and the huge difference between the two teams was for all to see. Many of the Wigan players on display will not be at the club next season and rightly so.
Gary Caldwell has a major rebuilding job ahead of him in the close season if the club want a speedy return to the Championship.
Caldwell was bitterly disappointed with the performance and said the squad needs a fresh impetus and he promised the fans that they’ll see a better team on the first day of next season.
“It’s going to be a long and hard process and we’re going to need some fresh impetus to the squad, I think the players that want to leave, will leave, we need to rebuild all through the summer, pre-season we’ll work very hard and I can assure the fans that we’ll have a better team on the pitch next year,” he added.
“The fans were amazing, we let them down today; they pay a lot of money to come and back us and support us and the second-half wasn’t good enough.”