Lincoln City picked up another massive three points on the road with an extremely hard fought 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic. Callum Lang's early thunderbolt was cancelled out by Anthony Scully before Tom Hopper grabbed yet another winning goal, to maintain City's place at the top of the table.
Michael Appleton made two changes from the midweek trip to Sunderland with Regan Poole and Morgan Rogers coming into the side in place of TJ Eyoma and Max Sanders.
It was a blustery day up at the DW Stadium and the home side started the stronger in the early periods of the match. A number of set pieces were sent into the City penalty area, but Adam Jackson and Lewis Montsma were on hand to head clear the danger.
The first chance of the game arrived for Tendayi Durikwa in the 9th minute as he worked his way into the Imps penalty area, but Conor McGrandles was on hand to time his tackle to perfection as Lincoln cleared.
City had to defend deep during the first ten minutes of the match, but quickly started to stamp their authority in the match. Brennan Johnson and Morgan Rogers began to pick the ball up in dangerous areas in the middle of the park as the Imps looked to break quickly on the counterattack.
City’s first chance of the game arrived in the 15th minute through right back Regan Poole. Morgan Rogers picked up the ball in midfield before driving 30 yards with the ball. He played a pass out wide to Poole, who was invited into the penalty area by Wigan, but his right footed effort fell the wrong side of the post.
The Latics fired a warning in the 21st minute as Solomon-Otabor found himself in space before cutting inside on his right foot, but Alex Palmer was equal to the effort as the chance was spurned.
The wind continued to swirl around the DW Stadium which caused both sides problems, but both teams looked to play their passing games.
Regan Poole continued to impress from full back, and he was in the thick of the action during the first half. The Welshman showed a real attacking intent to win numerous corners down the right side for City.
The Imps were inches away from taking the lead in the 26th minute as a dangerous corner was whipped in by Jorge Grant which hit Regan Poole before heading in, but Jamie Jones was on hand to beat it away on the goal line.
It was end-to-end stuff in Wigan as the home side almost opened the scoring themselves. A loose ball was picked up in the box by Luke Robinson, but his effort was mistimed and held easily by Alex Palmer.
Imps wanted a penalty shortly afterwards as Conor McGrandles looked to be fouled on the edge of the Wigan box, but the referee waved away the appeals, much to the dismay of the Lincoln players.
It was Wigan Athletic who took the lead here and it was a terrific strike from Callum Lang from fully 25 yards. He ran at the City defence before smashing the ball with his right foot from distance, leaving Alex Palmer with no chance.
The Imps responded immediately one minute later through Irish U21 international Anthony Scully. A curling ball was played into the box by Conor McGrandles and wasn’t dealt with by the home side, before Scully was in the right place at the right time to notch his 12th goal of the season.
Both teams created half chances prior to the interval but the scores were level at the midway point.
Half Time – Wigan Athletic 1-1 Lincoln City
With the early injury to Anthony Scully, Cohen Bramall was positioned at left back with Tayo Edun moving into the midfield. Brennan Johnson moved into the front three to accommodate the gap left by Scully as City searched for a second goal.
The Imps created a great opportunity in the 50th minute as Morgan Rogers won the ball in a great area before setting Brennan Johnson down the right but his shot was well saved by Jamie Jones before the rebound was blocked and cleared by the home side.
Gavin Massey broke forward instantly and charged at the Lincoln defence, but Adam Jackson timed his tackle perfectly before setting the Imps on another attack which broke down.
Regan Poole was so close to scoring a second for City as another dangerous corner taken by the City skipper was met by the Welshman, but his header hit the side netting despite looking like it had gone in.
Despite City having the better opening 15 minutes of the second period, Wigan began to create chances of their own and looked threatening from set pieces as the swirling wind continued but Adam Jackson was superb all afternoon, as were the the rest of the defence.
Viv Solomon-Otabor began to look dangerous on the right flank as he shifted the ball onto his right foot before hitting a cross-shot into the box, but the sliding Callum Lang couldn’t get a toe to the ball.
It was the Imps who took who grabbed that all important second goal and what a magnificent goal it was. Morgan Rogers played the ball inside to Jorge Grant who played a delightful reverse pass to Tom Hopper. The Imps’ number 9 held his run perfectly before cutting inside on his right foot and firing the ball into the top corner to make it 2-1.
Wigan reacted well to going behind as they began to threaten with long balls forward but Adam Jackson continued to defend like a warrior as the visitors looked to see this game out.
Jamie Procter did well to bring down a cross into the Lincoln penalty area before hitting a powerful volley, but his effort flew over Alex Palmer’s crossbar.
Wigan were close to equalising in the 86th minute as a dangerous ball from Gavin Massie was met by Callum Lang with a diving header, but fortunately for the Imps, his effort went wide.
The Imps weathered the late storm from the Latics to pick up a massive win on the road after showing terrific character to come from behind to take the all important, three points.
Full Time - Wigan Athletic 1-2 Lincoln City
1. Jamie Jones (C)
2. Tendayi Darikwa
4. Curtis Tilt
9. Callum Lang
12. Funso Ojo
14. Scott Wootton
16. Jamie Proctor
17. Viv Solomon-Otabor (Keane 82')
23. Chris Merrie (Massie 45')
30. Thelo Aasgaard
34. Luke Robinson
25. Owen Evans
5. George Johnston
6. Corey Whelan
7. Zach Clough
10. Will Keane
11. Gavin Massey
20. Jo Dodoo
Goals - Lang 34'
Booked - Aasgaard 49', Procter 54', Wootten 70', Massey 90'
1. Alex Palmer
2. Regan Poole
4. Lewis Montsma
5. Adam Jackson
7. Tayo Edun (Sanders 72')
9. Tom Hopper
10. Jorge Grant (C)
11. Anthony Scully (Bramall 40')
18. Conor McGrandles
20. Brennan Johnson
27. Morgan Rogers
31. Sam Long
6. Max Sanders
8. James Jones
15. Cohen Bramall
17. Remy Howarth
22. TJ Eyoma
30. Sean Roughan
Goals - Scully 35', Hopper 74'
Booked - Jackson 70', Palmer 89', Johnson 90'
Referee - Mr T Kettle
Asst Referees - Mr M Amphlatt & Mr P Stonier
4th Official - Mr A Backhouse