- Wigan Athletic produced another excellent away performance with a 2-0 victory at managerless Rotherham United.
- Latics went ahead on 12 minutes with a well executed move. Charlie Wyke cut the ball back to Will Keane who fired high into the net from close range.
- The Millers tried to respond forcing a series of corners but they couldn’t penetrate a resolute Latics back line.
- Late on Latics sealed their fourth consecutive away win when James McClean’s deep corner was headed back across goal for Tom Naylor to nod home.
- Latics climb to ninth place in the Championship table and Rotherham drop to 11th.
Leam Richardson made four changes from Latics home defeat against Reading, with Ryan Nyambe, Naylor, Nathan Broadhead and Charlie Wyke all coming into the starting eleven to replace Tendayi Darikwa, Graeme Shinnie, Callum Lang and Josh Magennis.
Latics started strongly at the New York Stadium with Broadhead’s back-heel finding Wyke who took a touch and shot from the edge of the area, but his strike unfortunately deflected into the arms of Viktor Johansson.
Keane then tried his luck from 20 yards out, but his powerful effort went narrowly wide of the far post.
Latics went ahead in the 12th minute after an impressive move. Ryan Nyambe’s curling pass down the right-hand side found Wyke who cut the ball back to Keane and the Republic of Ireland international powerfully despatched the ball high into the net from seven yards out.
The visitors nearly added to their lead when Naylor headed into the direction of Nyambe on the right and the full back saw his effort fly wide of the post.
The hosts had their first strike on target in the 20th minute when Wes Harding forced Ben Amos into an important save by pushing his strike over the crossbar.
McClean then went close for Latics when his vicious in-swinging corner was superbly pushed over the crossbar by Johansson as it looked to be heading into the far corner.
McClean then did superbly at the other end as he made an outstanding headed clearance to deny Chiedozie Ogbene.
Ogbene’s curling effort looked destined to find the top corner, but McClean did fantastically to backtrack and head the shot off the line.
The hosts then exerted a period of pressure and forced a series of corners. Cohen Bramall’s corner was met by captain Richard Wood at the far post, but the Millers caretaker boss missed a great opportunity when his header from a good position went wide.
Latics had to endure a catalogue of corners but they defended resolutely and rode their luck a little.
1-0 to Latics at the interval.
Latics started the second half brightly and they nearly doubled their advantage when Wyke down the right-hand side squared the ball to Max Power who saw his deflected effort claimed at the second attempt by Johansson.
The visitors then sat back as Rotherham tried to get back on level terms but fortunately the hosts weren’t able to create any clear-cut chances.
The visitors had a glorious chance to increase their lead when Broadhead and Power combined to send McClean in the clear, but the Republic of Ireland international was denied by a brilliant instinctive save by Johansson.
But from the resulting corner Latics effectively sealed the three points. Whatmough headed McClean’s deep corner back across goal, and Naylor headed home from close range.
In the remaining minutes Latics comfortably held out for an impressive fourth successive away win in the Championship.
The games now come thick and fast with Latics hoping to continue their good away form at Hull City on Wednesday night.
This was another excellent away performance against a team who had not been defeated at home this season. Rotherham are a strong physical team and are a big threat from set-pieces. Latics had to contend with a lot of pressure after they went ahead, but they did well to weather the storm and not concede.
Latics players are certainly enjoying their road trips and the fans have already been treated to some special away days.
It’s been a great start to the season and some will even be talking about pushing for the play-offs. Consolidation was always the aim for this season, but if they can continue their good away form and improve their home form you never know what could happen.
A special mention should go to Charlie Wyke who led the line to great effect. He is not only an outstanding target man who holds the ball up well and plays in his colleagues, but he also poses a significant goal threat.
It was his first start in 11 months after suffering a cardiac arrest and many people thought he would never be able to play again. It was great to see him back on the pitch and producing such a strong performance. Wyke lost his grandad on Thursday, so it was even more remarkable that he produced such a committed display against Rotherham.
Post match comments
Speaking afterwards Richardson believed that his side were more than worthy of all three points following their outstanding away performance against the Millers.
“It’s not an easy place to come to,” he said.
“Rotherham have some really good players, and they’ve been going really well as a Football Club. Before the game, they hadn’t conceded a goal in the first half hour, and they had not conceded a set-piece, and they’d certainly not lost at home, so to do all three was really pleasing.
I thought the first half was competitive, and we started the game terrifically well. It was probably even going into the second half, but I thought as an away team, we managed the game really well and to get the second goal, we took the sting out of the game and grew in confidence from there.
The lads stuck to the task, and responded from our last game with the outputs and energy levels, and I thought we were worthy winners today.
Credit goes to the players, and the staff who worked really hard in the international break. We had a really good training week this week, and it filtered out on the pitch. It’s pleasing all round today.”