- Wigan Athletic increased the pressure on their promotion rivals with another three points against Morecambe at the Mazuma Stadium.
- Highly rated striker Cole Stockton scored an early goal for the hosts but the visitors equalised just before half time through Will Keane.
- In an end-to-end game Latics secured another victory when substitute Stephen Humphrys looping header found the top corner of the net in the 73rd minute.
- Latics move into second place in the table one point behind leaders Wycombe but with four games in hand. Morecambe are in 21st place and are four points from safety.
Latics retained the same starting eleven from the victory against Doncaster Rovers. New signing Graeme Shinnie was included on the bench but the other recent signing Josh Magennis was not included in the squad.
The Shrimps started the brighter with Stockton heading Jacob Bedeau’s pass down to Arthur Gnahoua who chested the ball down before dragging his effort wide of the target.
Latics responded and James McClean cut inside on the left and tried his luck with his weaker right foot but his shot deflected into the hands of keeper Trevor Carson.
The hosts went ahead on seven minutes with the Latics defence statuesque. Greg Leigh nutmegged Gavin Massey before crossing low and when the ball bounced off Kell Watts, Stockton was on hand to fire home from close range.
The hosts were in the ascendancy and Gnahoua’s free-kick from the right was headed across goal by Bedeau to find Anthony O’Connor at the far post but his header cleared the crossbar.
As the half progressed Latics started to assert themselves and Callum Lang did superbly to beat three defenders before unleashing a low drive and forcing an excellent save from Carson who pushed the ball way for a corner.
The visitors went close to equalising when Power played a neat pass to Lang whose cross to McClean at the far post was headed over from close range.
Latics got the equaliser just before half-time through Keane. Power put Darikwa in the clear with a great pass, and the captain found Keane with a low cross and the striker showed good composure before slotting home his 13th goal of the season.
Latics started the second half strongly, but it was Morecambe who had the first chance. Stockton held the ball under pressure and before finding Jonah Ayunga who took the ball down into his path before forcing an excellent save from Amos.
Stockton then almost restored Morecambe’s advantage when he curled a strike from distance against Amos’ left hand post.
At the other end Latics went very close when Power’s free-kick was headed on by Naylor at the near post and then flicked on by Lang but his effort crashed against the crossbar.
Humphrys replaced Massey in the 62nd minute and the substitute made a big impact by heading Latics in front in the 73rd minute.
Lang crossed from the right and Humphrys climbed the highest to loop his header into the top corner.
Humphrys almost added a second goal soon afterwards when his drilled cross from the left was turned towards goal by a Shrimps defender, but Carson was able to save with his feet.
Despite some late Morecambe pressure Latics held out fairly comfortably to record another away victory and move into the automatic promotion places. They are now only one point behind leaders Wycombe but with four games in hand.
Latics are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions. They are the form team in League One with 16 points from the last six games and their relentless pursuit of promotion continues to gather pace.
Manager Leam Richardson praised his team’s resolve after the game.
“Firstly, I’d like to compliment the lads from certainly the improvement of last year and surpassing the points tally from what we did last season.
“I think – in any football competition – it’s important to always try and improve on last year. We set out this season to be competitive in every game and I think it’s a really big compliment to the lads to surpass the points tally from last year. We’ll keep our head down and keep moving forwards.
“These teams are fighting for their lives. They (Morecambe) have got some good players on the pitch, they’re well-coached and well-drilled, and you’ve got to respect every team in the league.
“I thought in the first half, it took our lads a little while to earn the right to play because Morecambe were a threat from set-pieces and sending the ball over the top. I thought in the second half, we were excellent and thoroughly deserved to score the two goals and on the balance of play, we deserved to win. “