Fleetwood Town made the short trip away to Wigan Athletic, where they suffered a 2-0 loss on Tuesday night at the DW Stadium.
Two late first-half goals dealt Fleetwood a massive blow after a promising opening 45-minute performance. Will Keane converted a penalty and five minutes later, James McClean doubled the home side’s advantage. Town looked to fight back in the second half, but it just wasn’t their night.
Shayden Morris made a very promising start to the game after receiving the ball just inside the opposition half from Carl Johnston. The winger drove all the way into the 18-yard box, beating his man in the process and producing a very good strike towards the bottom left corner of Ben Amos’ goal – Wigan’s goalkeeper was able to get down and parry it away from danger.
A few minutes later, McClean tried his luck after the ball found its way to him from a corner, but Ellis Harrison was there to flick the ball over the bar.
From the resulting corner, Will Keane rattled the post from inside the six-yard box and Alex Cairns was called into action for the first time on his 200th league start for Fleetwood, as he held on well to Kell Watts’ header.
After a period of sustained pressure from Town, the ball fell to Johnston just outside the box, and once again, Amos was worried and had to get down low to his bottom left corner to deny Fleetwood’s number 38 from opening the scoring.
The middle stages of the first half were played primarily in the middle of the park, but Johnston played an inch-perfect pass through the lines to find an underlapping Callum Johnson, but his attempted pull back at the byline was gathered easily by Amos.
With just under 10 minutes to go of the first half, Wigan were awarded a penalty at the cost of Johnson appearing to block an incoming shot with his hand. Keane was the man who tucked away from the spot-kick.
McClean made it 2-0 just before the break after finishing off a counter-attack for the home side. The Irishman received the ball on the edge of the box, set himself up with another touch, and curled it into the bottom right corner.
Town captain, Danny Andrew was hoping to help his side get back into the game just before the break, but his injury-time free-kick wasn’t contested by any man in a red and white shirt and Amos had to b alert to make sure the cross didn’t find its way into the back of the net.
Cian Hayes entered the action at the start of the second half and was providing a real threat on the left-wing. The youngster took on two men superbly, but his right-footed effort was cleared by the Wigan defence.
After a well-worked attack from Wigan, Callum Lang was at full stretch trying to reach Tendayi Darikwa’s cross, but he could only manage to direct it against the post, leaving the difference still at two goals.
Hayes was once again the man looking to make things happen as he tried using those silky feet to make a difference. It appeared as if he was brought down inside the box, but the referee waved away all Fleetwood appeals for a penalty.
Wigan XI: Amos (GK), Watts, Whatmough, Power, Keane, Shinnie, Lang (Tilt 86’), McClean, Darikwa (C) (Massey 87’), Humphrys (Magennis 65’)
Subs not used: Jones (GK), Edwards, Bennett, Rea
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew (C), Jules, Clarke, Butterworth (Hayes 46’), Harrison, Camps, Morris, C.Johnson, Biggins (J.Garner 65’), Johnston
Subs not used: O’Hara (GK), Pilkington Baggley, Nsiala, Boyle
Attendance: 8,627 (275 away)