Wigan Athletic made a big statement of intent to their promotion rivals with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Swindon Town at the County Ground.
Will Grigg put Wigan ahead with a cool finish on 15 minutes after good work by Chris McCann and they should have been further ahead at the interval after missing several good chances.
But Swindon were blown away in four and half second half minutes as Latics raced to a 4-0 lead, with Max Power’s unstoppable 25-yard strike, Grigg’s deflected shot and Sam Morsy’s excellent low drive.
Nicky Ajose managed a consolation for Swindon late on, and they had Nathan Thompson dismissed for a dangerous challenge on Chris McCann.
Wigan extend their unbeaten run to 17 games, move to within three points of leaders Burton, and now have a much superior goal difference than all their rivals.
Gary Caldwell made one change to his starting eleven from the victory over Bradford City with Chris McCann returning from suspension to replace Ryan Colclough.
Latics started on the front foot and quickly pushed Swindon back into their own half.
Max Power’s 30 yard free kick tested Tyrell Belford’s nerves and the young reserve keeper did well to tip the ball over the crossbar.
The Robins responded with a marauding run by Nathan Thompson, who fired just wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s upright.
But Latics went ahead on 15 minutes after good work by McCann. The returning midfielder whipped in an inviting cross for striker Grigg who made no mistake with a cool finish.
Soon afterwards McCann provided another inviting cross but this time Grigg was unable to make the vital contact with his head.
Latics were dominating possession and keeping Swindon pinned in their own half for long periods.
The only problem in the first half was the rather inconsistent refereeing of Andy Davies. The match official failed to penalise the home team for some persistent fouls but somehow managed to book Max Power for a minor offence.
Just before the interval it looked as though Latics would increase their lead, but Power’s dipping free kick somehow evaded both Grigg and Craig Morgan at the back post and Swindon escaped.
Latics started the second half in lightening fashion and when the home team failed to clear their lines Max Power produced an unstoppable 25 yard strike which doubled their lead.
Almost immediately Grigg made it three with a deflected shot which flew into the far corner of the Robins net.
Swindon were shellshocked and it was game over one minute later when Sam Morsy found space 25 yards out and hit a superb low drive which flew into the corner of Belford’s net.
Wigan were totally dominant and the home team should have suffered more ignominy but for some poor finishing and last ditch defending.
Man of the match David Perkins fired wide from 12 yards out, McCann headed over from Power’s corner, and Grigg when clean through fired wide with the goal at his mercy.
Swindon were struggling to keep Latics at bay and Wildschut had three good chances to increase the lead.
But Latics took their foot-off-the-pedal and substitutions allowed Swindon some relief. Power, Wildschut and Grigg were replaced by Tim Chow, Craig Davies and Haris Vuckic,
Perhaps inevitably Latics became a little complacent, and after Latics lost possession Ajose got an opportunity, and the League One leading goal scorer beat Jaaskelainen with 11 minutes remaining.
Thompson was dismissed for a poor challenge on McCann on 86 minutes, but the points had already been decided at the beginning of the second half.
Latics had demonstrated their promotion credentials with another important victory. Three points against Rochdale on Easter Monday and they will increase the pressure on leaders Burton and the chasing pack.