Fleetwood 2 Wigan Athletic 3: Town let two-goal lead slip against new League One leaders

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A stunning second-half comeback saw Wigan recover from two goals down to go top of League One and deny Fleetwood a badly-needed and landmark win.

 

Danny Andrew’s sixth goal of the season fired Simon Grayson’s side into an early lead.

Alex Cairns produced two superb saves to keep the advantage intact.

Callum Morton puts Fleetwood two goals up from the penalty spot before the Wigan fightback at Highbury

Callum Morton puts Fleetwood two goals up from the penalty spot before the Wigan fightback at Highbury

So, when Callum Morton, converted a 52nd-minute penalty, Town were firm favourites to register a first ever league win over Leam Richardson’s promotion-chasers.

Instead, Fleetwood conceded three times in 10 minutes and were unable to produce a comeback of their own as they had done against Wycombe four days earlier.

Goals from Callum Lang, Will Keane and Curtis Tilt sealed Wigan’s win and kept Town in the bottom three.

Wigan’s visit was the second of four successive home fixtures for Fleetwood in three separate competitions.

But a four-game winless run ensures the upcoming FA Cup and Papa John’s Trophy games against Burton Albion and Accrington Stanley have become much secondary in importance to climbing clear of relegation.

However, there was great expectation when Andrew fired Fleetwood into a seventh-minute lead.

Tendayi Darikwa’s foul on Paddy Lane was belatedly punished after referee Ross Joyce took instruction from linesman Paul Newhouse.

Latics’ management team protested in vain and Andrew curled in a left-foot free-kick from 18 yards. Dead-ball specialist Andrew has scored in four of his last five home games in League One, though his celebrations in front of the away end did not go down well with the travelling Latics supporters

Joe Garner’s 19th-minute header from Lane’s cross wasn’t far off doubling the home advantage. In between, Wigan showed their threat with Charlie Wyke heading wide from a Tom Bayliss centre.

Cairns was alert to punch away James McClean’s in swinging corner before another inviting delivery almost yielded an equaliser.

The Irishman’s raking left foot centre was headed goalwards by Wyke only for Cairns’ leg to deny the ex-Sunderland striker. Will Keane’s follow-up header was poor and wide.

Cairns rescued Town again after 33 minutes, tipping away Darikwa’s blistering 25-yard drive before the Latics’ skipper was booked for scything down Morton.

Andrew’s similar challenge on Bayliss soon after resulted in the same yellow outcome.

But despite incessant Wigan pressure through to half-time, Fleetwood kept their lead intact.

That stout defending was rewarded when Morton drilled in his spot-kick after he had been upended by keeper Ben Amos chasing down McClean’s ill-advised back-pass.

But 2-0 became 2-1 10 minutes later as Callum Lang squeezed in a low shot from the tightest of angles when Cairns appeared to misread the weight of Bayliss’ through-ball.

And Latics had already hit the post, via a Fleetwood boot, when Keane headed in from Wyke and McClean’s build-up.

Roared on by their 1,000 strong following, Wigan claimed the win when Tilt rose unmarked to convert Max Power’s corner.

Town’s Under-18s host Tranmere Rovers in the FA Youth Cup first round on Wednesday Kick-off at Highbury is 7pm.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Hill, Clarke, Andrew, Johnson, Matete (G Garner 78), Camps, Batty, Lane (Morris 73), J Garner, Morton; Subs not used: Crellin, McLaughlin, Clark, Biggins, Pilkington

Wigan: Amos, Kerr (Edwards 57), Whatmough, Tilt, Darikwa, Keane, Bayliss, Power, McClean, Lang, Wyke; Subs not used: Jones Watts, Pearce, Massey, Jones, Humphrys