Goals from Yanic Wilschut, Will Grigg and a late winner from Max Power earned Latics three fantastic points in an utterly pulsating match at the ABAX Stadium against a Peterborough United team who more than played their part.
Gary Caldwell’s Latics are now unbeaten in seven matches, having won the last two in pretty impressive style. If Saturday was an exhibition of power and clinical finishing, this was the game that had pretty much everything; great goals by both teams and after suffering the agony of the home side clawing back a 2-0 half-time lead late on in the second half, Latics going back up to the other end to score the winner. That shows tremendous character.
Latics now sit a point outside the play-off places, just five off the top of Sky Bet League One.
Caldwell had the luxury of being able to name an unchanged team for the first time this season, following the emphatic win against Colchester at the weekend.
Latics went in two goals to the good after a great first half in which another quick-fire double created a fantastic platform.
And yet Peterborough had begun the game on top, threatening Latics goal from the off. First Michael Bostwick headed Erhun Oztumer’s corner a foot wide after four minutes, then former Latics trainee Jon Taylor fired wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s opposite post from Conor Washington’s right wing cross two minutes later. Morgan then had to snub out an effort from Taylor who had ghosted into the box – dangerous moments early on.
Latics responded in grand style with two superb goals in three minutes.
Wildschut – fast becoming a big hero at the DW - picked up the ball in midfield after 11 minutes and simply ran at the heart of the Peterborough defence, beating one, two, then a third man before slotting a perfect finish to the left of Ben Alnwick from just inside the area. Fantastic stuff.
Wildschut was back tormenting the Posh defence a minute later, but the ball was cleared by Ricardo Santos this time, as Grigg loomed a yard out of an empty net. Power then tried his luck with an angled drive that flew inches wide.
It was 2-0 two minutes later, however, and Wildschut turned provider this time. He received a ball out on the left flank after the ever industrious David Perkins had picked it up and fed it out wide. The Dutchman drove at his full back once again, cut inside but rather than shooting this time, found Reece James unmarked on the edge of the area. The shot might have beaten Alnwick anyway but Grigg appeared to get a decisive touch and the former Sunderland keeper was helpless to prevent the goal.
Peterborough responded positively with Taylor fizzing an effort wide, before Gabriel Zakuani headed over, then the pendulum swung back Latics way, Wildschut terrorising his marker with another direct run and shot, which Alnwick got down swiftly to hold on to.
Latics had to concentrate, as Peterborough maintained their quick passing game in midfield with both Lee Angol and Chris Forrester trying their luck at goal. Jaaskelainen saved one, then using all his experience, allowed a low drive to go wide without the need to make the save and concede the corner.
Latics could have increased their lead on 35 minutes when Michael Jacobs drove down the right hand side and curled a low effort across the face of goal which Alnwick had to be at full stretch to parry away. Chris McCann then joined in with the action, his powerful drive on 39 minutes straight at Alnwick, who then had to beat away Grigg’s effort from the right.
Surely the second half could not be as breathless?
We had the answer within seconds of the restart. Forrester received a yellow card 30 seconds in for bringing down Wildschut who had evaded Santos with a clever turn and was galloping at full speed into the Peterborough half – it was easy to see where they felt the threat was coming from.
A minute later and it was Jacobs this time who drove at his marker and went down in the box under a challenge – no penalty given. Then Perkins wriggled free in the box and shot, his effort blocked by Santos. Wildschut found himself free on the edge of the box but couldn’t get past his man on this occasion, although Jacobs did and fired just wide. Five opportunities in the first five minutes of the half – with Peterborough managing a couple as well. Surely there were more goals in this incredible game…?
Wildschut earned a free-kick in a dangerous position – no real surprises there – and Jacobs curled in a low effort which Alnwick had to palm away at full stretch for a corner. James then fizzed the ball across goal from the short corner, but no one could find a connection.
Wildschut earned a second corner in quick succession when he shot from the edge of the box before a brilliantly worked move ended up with Power shooting inches wide.
Latics were in total control with an hour gone so it was probably inevitable that Peterborough broke away and scored. Taylor fired in a powerful shot low from the edge of the box, Jaaskelainen wasn’t able to hold on to it and Oztumer blasted the free ball into the roof of the net.
Suddenly it was Peterborough whose tails were up and Caldwell responded by replacing Grigg with Grant Holt. It almost yielded a goal straight away as he set up Wildschut whose shot was blocked. Tim Chow then replaced Jacobs.
Now it was Peterborough’s turn to be the dominant force and Latics. Forrester sent Washington down the left side and his angled shot was a foot wide of Jaaskelainen’s far post. Jermaine Anderson headed well wide from Callum Elder’s cross. Latics threatened to break but lost possession and back came Peterborough.
Craig Davies replaced Wildschut as we entered into the final quarter of an hour and it was a welcome return for the striker after missing seven games with a hamstring problem.
Peterborough kept coming at Latics and eventually the wall of black shirts wasn’t able to hold back another well worked goal, Taylor sending Oztumer free in the area and his low cross was turned in by substitute Souleymane Coulibaly in a crowded area on 81 minutes.
Agony but it was typical of the match that rather than think of what might have been Latics should go back up to the other end and score a great goal a minute later. Davies was the provider as he set up Power who finished low into Alnwick’s right corner. What a game.
Now it was Latics who were dominant. Chow had a shot blocked, Davies saw a shot deflected for a corner and James found space to drive at goal, but it was well over.
Six minutes of additional time were announced and the game was still on a knife-edge but Latics held on for a terrific morale-boosting win.