Wigan 5-2 Bolton: Five-star Latics thrash lowly Bolton
Paul Cook's side sit three points above the relegation zone after thumping
Last Updated: 16/03/19 6:53pm
Wigan produced a five-star performance to hammer local rivals Bolton 5-2 and give themselves some breathing space at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship.
The home side had been feeling the pressure after a wretched recent run saw them slip to fourth-bottom, out of the drop zone only on goal difference.
But from the moment Joe Garner opened the scoring with only four minutes gone, there was only one winner of an entertaining derby clash.
Wigan started like a house on fire, with Michael Jacobs getting round the back a couple of times inside the opening four minutes.
The second time saw him felled by Jason Lowe, who was cautioned for the challenge. But Reece James exacted the perfect revenge by picking out Garner with the free-kick, and the striker headed home from close range.
Ex-Wigan man Callum Connolly headed Bolton's first opportunity over, before Antonee Robinson - a former Wanderer - saw a shot tipped round the post at the other end.
Wigan doubled their lead six minutes into the second period with Nick Powell supplying Gavin Massey, who found the back of the net via the inside of the post and an awful mistake in the Bolton ranks gifted Powell Wigan's third goal just four minutes later.
Bolton pulled one back in the 62nd minute through Gary O'Neil, a neat strike past Christian Walton, and the visitors sensed a way back into it.
Sam Morsy wasted another great chance after more fine work from Powell, and Wigan must have wondered if it was not to be their day when Remi Matthews pulled off a fabulous save to deny Jacobs.
However, Jacobs had his goal seconds later with a cracking long-range strike with 21 minutes remaining, although Wigan needed a fine save from Walton to deny Connolly another goal back for Bolton.
Wanderers did pull back a second goal with 10 minutes to go through Sammy Ameobi's far-post finish, but substitute Leon Clarke headed home from Nathan Byrne's teasing cross inside a minute, and the game was safe.
Wigan came within inches of adding a sixth goal in the dying seconds, with Byrne denied his first goal for the club by a coat of finish, his rocket from 25 yards beating the goalkeeper but coming back off the post.
Paul Cook: "It was just what the doctor ordered, without a shadow of a doubt. The early goal helped calm the nerves, and we rode our luck once or twice in certain situations, but we created more than enough chances to win a game of football, that's for sure.
"I'm delighted for the players on the back of a really tough week. We never in a lifetime deserved to lose at Reading last weekend. The pressure was mounting on everybody, which is just football today. But I'm just so pleased for the players, it's a great win."
Phil Parkinson: "That's the frustrating thing because, as soon as we got a goal back, we felt we could go on and get something. We always felt we could create chances against Wigan, but unfortunately conceded too soon after our goals.
"The nature of the third goal (from Powell) in particular summed up our afternoon, and the way it's been going. It's ridiculous. It happened earlier this week in the Carlisle-Notts County game, and sometimes when players see something like that on the telly, they copy it.
"I've said to Remy that's it a basic thing as a goalkeeper, you look around you. It's a very poor error."