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Match Reports

Wigan Athletic 1 Imps 2

26 October 2021

Dan Nlundulu’s first goal for the Imps set the foundations for an impressive victory at Wigan Athletic.

The first-half strike was the icing on the cake for the on-loan Southampton man, who put in a marauding display as he returned to the starting line-up.

TJ Eyoma added a second goal after the break to ensure an impressive return of four points from trips to Sheffield Wednesday and the Latics - two sides whose budgets are among the highest in Sky Bet League One.

Substitute Gavin Massey pulled a late goal back for the home side, but the Imps did not look in danger of getting anything other than a fully deserved three points from the game.

The Imps made two changes to the starting line-up, with Eyoma and Nlundulu coming in - Adam Jackson dropped to the bench and Anthony Scully missed out altogether.

And the visitors picked up where they left off at Hillsborough on Saturday, with a confident start which included an opening couple of minutes where the home side could not get a touch.

The Latics were the first to fashion a chance, though, with Tom Bayliss driving an effort well over after a corner was rebuffed by the Imps’ initial line of defence.

Ben Amos, in the home goal, was the first keeper to have to make a safe though as Lasse Sorensen’s ball into the area looking for Nlundulu was too far ahead of the striker.

There were a number of half-chances created in this period - a Ted Bishop reverse pass for Nlunudulu was intercepted, while Lewis Montsma then Nlundulu had efforts blocked following a corner.

The opening goal came after 14 minutes, and there was a lot to like about it from an Imps viewpoint.

Space opened up for Fiorini in a position he has shot from more than once, but he instead took the more considered approach and laid the ball off for Bishop. The No.12 lifted a delicate chip over the home defence, with Nlundulu timing his run to perfection to lift the ball over Amos.

The old adage of being at your most vulnerable just after scoring almost came true as James McClean lofted an effort which bounced off the crossbar moments after the restart.

Wigan, who flashed an effort wide via Stephen Humphrys, had the ball in the back of the net after 25 minutes but their celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee.

Kell Watts had got on the end of a free-kick delivery to force the ball home, but ended up with a booking for his troubles after using a hand rather than his head to do so.

That was the best chance the Latics fashioned in the opening period, although Humphreys did send a header wide from Tendayi Darikwa’s cross.

And Bishop was not far off doubling the Imps’ advantage in the final minute of the half after he was afforded far too much space in the middle of the park, with a powerful drive which bounced off the top of the bar with Amos helpless.

The Imps were the first to fashion an opening in the second period, with Nlundulu firing just wide of the near post after a throw-in close to the byline won by Chris Maguire’s hassling of Amos after he missed a clearance.

Watts saw a header turned away by Josh Griffiths, while Humphrys’ acrobatic overhead kick from a Max Power corner went over as the home side tried to find a way back into the game.

But the visitors survived the pressure and were soon creating chances of their own again as Fiorini and Regan Poole had efforts blocked behind for corners.

There was a three-on-one break when Nlundulu was sent away down the right, with a vital toe from a Latics defender holding him up with Fiorini and Bishop racing through awaiting a cross.

Bishop saw an effort from distance tipped over by Amos for what proved to be a decisive corner. Maguire’s delivery found its way to Eyoma, who held off his man before smashing a low effort into a corner for his first goal since signing permanently for the Imps at the start of the season.

That gave the visitors a fully deserved 2-0 lead as the game entered its final 30 minutes, and it was inevitable the home side would enjoy some pressure.

Will Keane blasted a long-range effort off the crossbar after 64 minutes, then only a vital block from Eyoma stopped the same man getting a shot away.

The Imps dug deep and restricted the home side to shots from distance, summed up as Power sent an effort into the stands, or direct balls into the area.

There was even an opportunity to add a third goal after Maguire set Fiorini free down the left. His first-time cross into the area found Nlundulu, who expertly held off his man and spun but sent his effort just wide of a post.

The home side had a great opportunity to get a foothold back in the game with 10 minutes to go when Eyoma conceded a central free-kick just outside the area. Lang’s effort was too high to trouble Griffiths, though.

Nlundulu was given a standing ovation by the 302 travelling fans as he was withdrawn shortly afterwards, with 17-year-old Freddie Draper earning his second Imps outing just four days after his senior debut.

Lang had better luck moments later when he headed a Power free-kick back into the area, but Keane’s shot was blocked behind. Moment later an army of yellow shirts flung themselves in front of a Keane effort as the visitors gave everything to hold onto their lead.

Massey headed home a late goal for Wigan, but the result was never in doubt.

Attendance: 8,707 (302 away)

For full match stats, line-ups, on the day results and league table check out our match centre.


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