Five-star Latics back on top
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Wigan reclaimed top spot in The Championship with a 5-0 win over Preston.Wigan reclaimed top spot in The Championship with an emphatic 5-0 win over Lancashire rivals Preston.
The victory was particularly sweet for striker Nathan Ellington who not only ended a six-game wait for a goal with a brace, but notched up his 100th league strike in the process.
Lee McCulloch, Alan Mahon and Jason Roberts also got on the scoresheet as The Latics moved back above Ipswich in some style.
The hosts created their first chance on nine minutes when Youl Mawene got in an important header to knock Jimmy Bullard's cross out for a corner with McCulloch poised to convert at the far post.
Recent signing Chris Sedgewick had a good opportunity for the visitors on 16 minutes when he pounced on a sloppy Leyton Baines pass, but as he was preparing to shoot the retreating Mahon got in a vital last-ditch challenge to deny him.
Wigan broke the deadlock on 27 minutes, McCulloch beat Preston keeper Jonathan Gould to a left-wing corner and then reacted quickest when his header bounced out off a post to slide home from five yards.
North End thought they were heading in level at the break, but were left infuriated when Chris Lucketti's thumping header from a corner was ruled out for a dubious-looking push on McCulloch.
The visitors started the second half the brighter with Dickson Etuhu and Patrick Agyemang both spurning chances.
However, Wigan's second on 52 minutes completely changed the contest.
Ellington released Roberts and the striker unselfishly rolled in to the path of Mahon who coolly slotted past Gould.
Two became three five minutes later and Roberts was again the provider, holding off Lucketti before chipping a delightful cross to Ellington at the far post who nodded into an unguarded net.
Ellington then grabbed his landmark goal on 71 minutes, cutting in off the left before unleashing a long-range effort that flew in via a slight deflection off Claude Davis.
Strike-partner Roberts got in on the act by converting a penalty twelve minutes from time after Marlon Broomes had clumsily pulled him down as he prepared to tuck home an Ellington cross.
Roberts casually beat Gould from 12 yards to end his own goal-drought that had stretched back eight games.