Wigan 1-0 Bristol City: Nick Powell's header boosts Latics to third
Report and highlights from Sky Bet Championship clash
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 21/09/18 11:11pm
Nick Powell ensured Wigan ended the week with six points from six as his second-half header secured a 1-0 win over Bristol City at the DW Stadium on Friday evening.
An entertaining opening soon made way for a scrappy tie in Lancashire and Tomas Kalas was fortunate to escape unpunished after two suspect challenges, while Michael Jacobs curled the first chance over the bar.
The hosts remained on top for the majority of the game and took the lead seven minutes after the break when Powell steered Josh Windass' excellent cross home with a neat header that proved to be the winner.
Wigan: Walton (6), James (7), Dunkley (7), Kipre (7), Robinson (6), Morsy (8), Evans (6), Jacobs (6), Powell (7), Windass (7), Garner (6)
Subs: Gibson (5), Connolly (5), Naismith (n/a)
Bristol City: Maenpaa (6), Hunt (6), Kalas (6), Webster (6), Kelly (5), Eliasson (6), Pack (5), Brownhill (5), Paterson (5), Diedhiou (5), Weimann (5)
Subs: Watkins (4), O’Dowda (4), Baker (n/a)
Man of the match: Sam Morsy
The results lifts Paul Cook's promoted Latics to third, two points behind leaders Leeds, while the visitors - who suffered their third league defeat of the season - occupy the final play-off spot.
In an action-packed first 15 minutes, Chelsea loanee Kalas went un-penalised for robust challenges inside the area on Joe Garner and Jacobs, while at the other end, Antonee Robinson was almost left red-faced as Andreas Weimann failed to convert his careless backpass.
There was soon a different feel to the game as Wigan's threat became more apparent. Jacobs edged a stride ahead of Marlon Pack and curled over, before a lack of communication allowed Powell space to scuff a shot wide.
Much of the half was played in a packed midfield but the Latics managed to carve another chance before the half was out; Lloyd Kelly was aptly positioned to clear Jacobs' cross after he'd danced in from the left.
Wigan made one change from the midweek victory over Hull, with Joe Garner making his first start in place of Will Grigg. James Vaughan was also missing with a knock. Gary Roberts and Leo Da Silva Lopes among the substitutes.
Bristol City boss Lee Johnson made three changes, however, following his side's 4-2 midweek defeat to West Brom, with Marley Watkins, Callum O'Dowda and Matty Taylor making way for Famara Diedhiou, Niclas Eliasson and Jamie Paterson.
There was a lack of utilisation of the flanks in the first period, but that is where the opening goal was created seven minutes after the restart.
Windass - whose father Dean scored the winner in the 2008 play-off final to deny the Robins a spot in the Premier League - dug out a quality cross from the right, Powell leapt and brilliantly guided the ball beyond the helpless Niki Maenpaa.
Lee Johnson altered his system and deployed a 4-3-3 formation in order to try and salvage something from the game, but time after time, Kelly's crosses from the left went unchallenged.
In the six minutes of added time that followed Kalas' departure after a clash of heads with Marley Watkins, the visitors attacking potency increased but Adam Webster stuttered at the key moment and Famara Diedhiou headed into Christian Walton's grateful arms.
Man of the match - Sam Morsy
Wigan boss Paul Cook will no doubt be counting his lucky stars the red card the midfielder received against Brentford was rescinded as he's played a pivotal role in the Latics success this week.
The battling Egyptian thundered home the opener in a 2-1 win over Hull in midweek and was instrumental in nullifying the Bristol City threat this evening, gaining possession nine times and making five tackles - a match-high figure.
Paul Cook: "I think both teams - especially in the first half - were cancelling each other out. It wasn't a great game, like we all thought it may well be coming at the end of a tough week for both and I think that showed in the play. A draw on the night probably would've been a fair result but that one moment of magic in games can settle games.
"We had to dig in an show a side of the game that we haven't really been renowned for; Bristol City came on very strong, they are a good side who have got very good players. We had a little bit of luck at the end but you get that sometimes when things are you, so while it's going for us we're delighted."
Lee Johnson: "I thought we were poor. I thought it was a poor game, really. I thought it lacked genuine quality on the day and the one bit of quality was probably the ball in and finish that got them their goal. We weren't clinical, we didn't have enough structure and it's as disappointed as I've been in one of my side, I think, ever. I have to say I was a bit embarrassed.
"I think we've got a good group of lads and we are going to have to bounce back now pretty quickly. Fair play to Wigan, they worked their socks off. I think stats-wise we'd be probably ahead in terms of possession and maybe chances, but we just didn't play with any cohesion tonight and I've got to have a look at why that was."