Burton 0-2 Wigan: Callum Connolly hits double on debut
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/01/17 7:00pm
Callum Connolly was the hero for Championship strugglers Wigan after he scored two headers on his debut to send Burton to a fourth successive home league defeat.
The Everton youngster only linked up with Warren Joyce's side ahead of the game and instantly repaid the faith of his manager by securing the Latics their first League win since the end of November with coolly taken headers either side of half-time.
Having kept his side in the game twice during the first half with vital interventions, it was the experienced Stephen Warnock who set up the chance for Wigan's opener with a teasing left wing cross that was headed home by Connolly in the solitary minute of first-half stoppage time.
Connolly grabbed his second of the game on 64 minutes rising to meet Jacobs corner and guiding the ball past substitute keeper Stephen Bywater into the far corner to put the game
Late goals in each half have so far cost Albion no less than fourteen points in this their debut season in the second tier. It points to the reason why they are now just three points above Athletic who joined them in winning promotion from League One last season.
Bywater had replaced regular Burton stopper Jon McLaughlin at the break after the Brewers No 1 had felt the effects of a challenge from ex-Burton favourite Jake Buxton during the first period.
Both sides traded chances in a more than competitive first half. Michael Jacobs twice went close for Wigan testing Burton keeper Jon McLaughlin low to his left and midfielder Max Power sent a stinging shot inches wide of the far post.
Warnock intervened to cut out a dangerous free kick from Matt Palmer during the opening exchanges and was in the right place at the right time when Chris O'Grady's angled shot beat keeper Jakob Haugaard.
The Stoke loanee in between the sticks denied O'Grady late on with a full length stop as Albion looked for a grandstand finish in search of a point.
Whilst the victory for Wigan, their first in five attempts against the Brewers, pulls them closer to safety, Albion are left searching for a first home point since the start of December and more importantly a first goal of the calendar year as they sit perilously above the Championship drop zone.
Burton boss Nigel Clough:
"It's a frustrated dressing room because we have given away two of the softest goals we have given away all season. The timing as well is difficult. I think that is three in recent games just before half-time, in added time, and that is something that has to be addressed. It is the nature of the goals today rather than the timing that is the really frustrating thing for us today, though.
"Both penalty areas, which is where it really counts, they were better than us today.
Wigan boss Warren Joyce:
"It's a great win but it's just three points and there is still a long way to go in the season. There are still 60 points at stake so it's an important three points but it would have been whoever we would have been playing today. mI don't think the performances have been that much different in the games we have had really.
"We have just had periods where small details have cost us and its getting that consistency where everything goes right for the 90 minutes. That is the important part. Today, Burton could have scored a couple of goals but the way the defenders put their bodies on the line consistently you sometimes earn a little bit of luck when you are that brave."