Wigan Athletic thrashed Fleetwood Town 4-0 to return to the Championship at the first time of asking. Promotion was achieved on a glorious day on the Lancashire coast with an emphatic display of attacking football.
Latics’ result and Shrewsbury’s failure to beat Bury ensured they were promoted with three games to spare.
Paul Cook’s team moved three points clear at the top of the table and will secure the League One title if they win two of their three remaining games.
Max Power opened the scoring on 33 minutes with a side-footed effort from the edge of the area into the bottom right-hand corner.
Latics were soon two up when Gavin Massey produced a piece of magic with a Bergkampesque flick and turn before curling the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
The visitors were now in cruise control and they dominated proceedings with some scintillating attacking moves.
Dan Burn added a third when Ryan Colclough set him up inside the area and Chey Dunkley added a fourth following a good initial save by Alex Cairns, but it could so easily have been six or seven as Latics tormented their opponents.
Cook made three changes to the team that defeated Oxford United with Nathan Byrne, Will Grigg and Massey all coming into the starting eleven.
Latics were the first to threaten when Gary Roberts’ curled strike was pushed onto the post by Cairns.
Ashley Hunter was proving to be the hosts main outlet and he fired over the crossbar from a good position early on.
But Latics soon took control when Nathan Byrne fed Power on the edge of the area and the bubbly midfielder side-footed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Three minutes later and Latics were two up. Grigg played a neat ball to Massey and the winger produced a special piece of magic with an audacious flick and turn before curling the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Just the 2-0 at the interval with Latics in command but it was an even more impressive display in the second-half.
Centre-half Burn added a third on 57 minutes firing home with a low drive after a good cut-back by Colclough.
Power should have added a fourth soon afterwards when Man of the Match Roberts broke down the left and produced a perfect ball for him in front of goal but the midfielder fired wide of the target.
Latics continued to exert pressure and they added a fourth on 66 minutes when Dunkley finished from close range after Cairns had initially done well to save Colclough’s header.
Roberts and substitutes Jamie Walker and Devante Cole all had chances increase the advantage, but it didn’t matter as news that Bury had equalised at Shrewsbury meant the players and fans were in celebratory mood as a well deserved promotion had been clinched.
It’s already been a record breaking season as Latics set a new clean sheet record with Christian Walton and Jamie Jones reaching a combined 26 in League One. They also reached 86 league goals for the campaign. But they could also surpass Paul Jewell’s 2002/03 team’s 100 point record if they win their final three games.