- Wigan Athletic are the League One Champions after an accomplished 3-0 victory at Shrewsbury Town.
- Latics went ahead just before half-time when Max Power’s free-kick came back off the post and the rebound went in via Shrewsbury midfielder Josh Vela.
- Early in the second half the visitors doubled their lead from the penalty spot when Will Keane converted.
- The three points and the title were confirmed on 65 minutes when James McClean’s inviting free-kick was headed home by Golden Boot winner Keane for his 26th league goal of the season.
- Latics finished the season two points ahead of second placed Rotherham and three points ahead of third placed MK Dons who enter the play-offs.
Leam Richardson made two changes to the starting line-up from the midweek game against Ipswich, Kell Watts came back into the centre of defence for Joe Bennett whilst James McClean replaced Tom Pearce at left wing-back.
Shrewsbury started well and Daniel Udoh drove forward into the penalty and hit a low shot which was comfortably saved by Ben Amos.
Latics then went close in the 10th minute, from a short corner McClean crossed for Watts, but the Newcastle loanee headed just over the crossbar.
The visitors looked the most likely to open the scoring and in the 23rd minute Power’s swerving 30-yard free-kick was superbly turned around the post by Marko Marosi.
As half-time approached Latics were ahead through an own goal. Power’s in-swinging free-kick from the left hit the near post before rebounding onto Vela and into the back of the net.
Latics started the second half strongly and made it two from the penalty spot in the 50th minute. Power’s shot from just inside the area hit the hand of the diving Tom Flanagan and referee Steve Martin awarded the spot kick.
Keane stepped up to send Marosi the wrong way from the penalty kick and cue ecstatic scenes in the away end.
Latics effectively sealed the three points and the title in the 65th minute when they added a third and Keane’s 26th goal of the season.
McClean’s in-swinging free-kick from the left-hand side was perfect for Keane to glance into the top corner and produce more memorable scenes in the away end.
The hosts had a rare opportunity to pull a goal back with 11 minutes remaining when Ryan Bowman capitalised on an error by Kell Watts and squared the ball to Udoh, but Amos did well to gather the ball.
Latics comfortably saw out the remaining minutes of the game to secure the League One title and their third promotion from League One as Champions in six years.
Talking to the media afterwards, Richardson dedicated the title to the staff who had been made redundant during administration.
“There were times last season when we needed everyone’s support, and we certainly got that,” he said.
“None more so than from our own fans, who were there for us when we needed them the most.
“First and foremost, I’d like to dedicate this title win to the fans, and also every single member of staff who was made redundant during the administration period.
“This club has been through such challenging times, and for us to come through it, none of it would have been possible on my own.
“It comes from the support of others – your family, friends, players and the staff – who have all played their part.
“Every single accolade we get, and I get, it’s shared among everyone.”
It has been a remarkable transformation for the club from the dark days of administration. Only an amazing crowdfunding appeal has kept the club alive. Last season Latics had only escaped relegation to League Two by just one point.
Richardson had steered the club through the crisis and when the new owners Phoenix 2021 took over they recruited superbly and have managed the club in exemplary fashion.
Richardson has achieved almost godlike status in Wigan from when he performed CPR to save the life of striker Charlie Wyke.
The modest manager has had a Stand at the DW Stadium named after him and with a quick fire promotion to the Championship he has exceeded all expectations.
The future looks very bright with Richardson and Phoenix 2021 in charge. The League One title is an incredible achievement by everyone involved with the club, but they will not rest on their laurels and the preparations for Championship success have already commenced.
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