Fleetwood suffered only their third defeat of John Sheridan’s tenure as they were beaten 4-0 by Wigan Athletic at Highbury.
Two goals in each half, first from Max Power and Gavin Massey then Dan Burn and Chey Dunkley, sealed victory and promotion for the Latics.
Fleetwood did enjoy good spells in either half but couldn’t penetrate a strong Wigan defence. Ash Hunter had the best of the bunch for the Cod Army, but he couldn’t find the net.
Sheridan made four changes to the side that faced Blackpool last weekend, with Jordy Hiwula, Cian Bolger, Wes Burns and Bobby Grant coming into the side ahead of Nathan Pond, Conor McAleny, Paddy Madden and Jack Sowerby.
On a beautiful day at Highbury, the stakes were high as the visitors knew a win would confirm their promotion to the Championship, and they were quick out the blocks. Inside five minutes, they were unlucky not to be ahead, as Gary Roberts’ curling shot was tipped onto the post by Alex Cairns.
Town were trying to sway the game into their favour and they almost did early on. Hunter decided to try his luck from a free-kick in the 10th minute but it was comfortably saved by Christian Walton.
Hunter was back in the action shortly after as he was taken down by Nathan Byrne for a free kick. The battle between the two carried on as the Town forward used some fantastic skills to beat the fullback, which led to a dangerous attack.
Fleetwood were easing back into the game and could have been ahead when Hunter volleyed Wes Burns’ cross just over the bar.
A quick counter then saw Hunter feed Grant into the area, but Walton produced a low save before Wigan cleared away.
It was much against the run of play that Wigan took the lead, as Byrne pounced on a Town mistake and set up Power to side foot home from 18-yards.
Minutes later they doubled their lead, from another counter attacking situation. Massey was fed through into the area, turned his marker brilliantly and slotted past Cairns, as they ended the half strongly.
The second half saw more pressure from the Latics, but Fleetwood did look better in midfield, with Grant allowed space to shoot from distance.
Lewie Coyle was also given the opportunity to venture forward, with Town looking to play him down the left side when possible.
Wigan’s fast play was causing problems for Town though, and after winning a corner, Burn was left unmarked in the area and allowed to slot home a third goal for the league leaders.
They added another to make it four as Dunkley fired home from a yard out after Cairns had initially saved a Wigan corner.
McAleny was brought on by Sheridan, and he had a good chance almost instantly as his effort from a tight angle whisked just wide of the post.
Fleetwood enjoyed a late flurry of possession, as Kyle Dempsey was allowed time to shoot inside the area. His effort was deflected wide.
Coyle came to Town’s rescue late on as he blocked a goal bound effort from Roberts, before the ball was cleared to safety.
The referees whistle marked the end of disappointing afternoon for Town, and saw Wigan promoted to the Championship.
Fleetwood Town XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Eastham, Hiwula, Dempsey, Burns (Biggins), Grant (Madden), Bolger ©, Diagouraga, Jones, Hunter (McAleny).
Subs not used: Neal (GK), Pond, Glendon, Sowerby.
Wigan Athletic XI: Walton (GK), Byrne, Elder, Morsy ©, Power, Grigg (Cole), Massey (Perkins), Roberts, Dunkley, Colclough (Walker), Burn.
Subs not used: Jones (GK), Vaughan, Bruce, Jacobs.
Referee: Mr D Whitestone
Attendance: 3,836 (1,122)