Wigan 1-3 Reading: Late George Puscas hat-trick stuns Latics
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at the DW Stadium
Last Updated: 30/11/19 6:30pm
George Puscas netted a sensational hat-trick in the space of five minutes deep inside the final quarter to give Reading a 3-1 Championship victory at struggling Wigan.
In a game desperately short in quality and excitement, Puscas stepped up to the plate to secure a vital away win - and pile the pressure on under-fire Wigan boss Paul Cook.
The hosts went ahead through Joe Garner, but are now without a win in seven outings and sit in the relegation zone.
Wigan had started by far the brighter and Anthony Pilkington unleashed a brilliant strike that was tipped over by Reading goalkeeper Rafael.
At the other end, Reading were almost in, when a corner from the right found Puscas, whose volley was cleared off the line by Pilkington.
But it was Wigan who got their noses in front in the 34th minute, when Garner climbed well to meet a Pilkington corner.
Rafael parried it out but straight back to Garner, who scrambled it home from close range.
Brilliant football from the Latics then saw Michael Jacobs feed Garner, who saw Josh Windass in acres of space at the far post.
The cross came straight in and Windass elected to take it on the volley, but his left-footed strike flew wide.
Wigan started the second half in similar fashion, with Sam Morsy advancing into the box only to see his shot deflected wide.
Reading were continuing to offer little, but Wigan were given a warning when the ball landed at the feet of Puscas, although he sent his shot over the top.
Wigan boss Cook was booked for dissent by referee Jeremy Simpson, before the game was turned on its head in the space of five mad minutes.
With 12 minutes remaining, Reading substitute Lucas Boye was adjudged to have been fouled by Dujon Sterling.
Puscas placed the ball on the spot before smashing it down the middle, with David Marshall diving to his right.
Two minutes later, the striker was in again, skipping beyond Charlie Mulgrew before slotting past the disbelieving Marshall.
Then, three minutes after that, Garath McCleary crossed from the right for Puscas to complete his hat-trick.
And the Wigan fans spent much of the closing stages venting their anger at Cook.
What the managers said...
Wigan's Paul Cook: "With all due respect, I'm not getting involved in criticising the referee. As a manager, sometimes the easiest thing to do is and say things you're feeling, but which will get you into trouble.
"I'm certainly not getting involved in that. What I will say is, in football, and certainly teams like ours, confidence is hard to find. When you're on the kind of bad run we are, key moments can't half influence games. And unfortunately again today, we've had massive key moments that have gone against us."
Reading's Mark Bowen: "I must say, if I'm being totally honest with you, I'd already got my excuses in mind what I was going to say about how the game had gone away from us. But I'm obviously delighted for George Puscas because he's a young man, from Inter Milan, who's arrived with a big burden to score goals.
"He has found it tough, but it's genuinely not been all his fault. I've said many times as a team we haven't shown enough quality in the final third, getting the balls in to our strikers. We have to develop better quality - the kind we showed today - if we are to help them to score goals."