- Wigan Athletic beat Wolves in the Sky Bet Championship.
- Jake Buxton with superb late header seals Molineux win.
- Full debut for Matt Gilks, who pulls off two brilliant second half saves.
- Debut for Gabriel Obertan as second half substitute.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Attendance - 17,156
Jake Buxton will remember his first goal for Wigan Athletic because it came with red roses attached on Valentine's Night as he stunned Molineux with a late sucker punch that saw Latics climb a place in the table to within two points of safety.
Rewind three days and it was a late goal that broke Latics hearts at Fulham, but here the tables were turned in emphatic fashion – Buxton typifying everything that was good about Latics on a night when the players put everything on the line to get the three points.
The centre-half was already a man of the match contender for a typically robust defensive performance when he trotted upfield to meet Max Power’s corner with a quite superb header that Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme could do only watch fly past him into the corner of his net.
It capped what was another committed team display from Latics who worked tirelessly all-night to nullify the threat of the home side, reducing them to very few opportunities. When Wolves did find a way past, Matt Gilks, starting his first game for Latics in place of Jakob Haugaard, made two exceptional saves.
Gilks was one of two changes, with Will Grigg coming in to replace David Perkins to slot in alongside, or just behind Omar Bogle.
The first half was a pretty forgettable affair, neither side really threatening goal although Wolves had a few more attempts. The best probably came in injury time when Bright Enobakhare, who had just put one effort into the side netting, saw a shot deflected just wide
For their part, Latics’ only shot at goal was a Shaun MacDonald effort from the edge of the box, which went wide.
Jamie Hanson replaced Michael Jacobs at half-time, slotting into left midfield but the second half followed much the same pattern as the first. Wolves enjoyed most of the possession but Latics were always a threat on the break.
Wolves had a half chance when Enobakhare fired in a low cross across the face of Gilks’ goal, then it was Latics turn with Hanson doing the same at the other end.
Gabriel Obertan made his Latics debut when he came on after 61 minutes in place of Bogle and showed some real quality on the ball.
Gilks made the first of two superb saves to deny Wolves’ top scorer Dave Edwards as he met Costa’s free-kick from the right after 72 minutes.
Wolves did up the pressure in the final ten minutes, but Latics looked strong defensively, and had half chances when Callum Connolly and Grigg had efforts blocked on the break.
And then came the goal. Grigg put Obertan through and the Frenchman did brilliantly to win the corner on the right. Power swung it in and Buxton met it perfectly from near the penalty spot to power in an unstoppable header.
There was still time for two great chances at either end.
Gilks pulled off a fantastic save from Connor Ronan’s rasping 30 yard drive before Latics broke and Obertan forced a great save from Carl Ikeme.
What a difference from Saturday as the players punched the air in delight at the final whistle.
Ikeme; Doherty, Batth, Stearman; Marshall (Coady 75), Evans (Gibbs-White, 62), Edwards; Ronan, Costa, Enobakhare (Weimann, 81), Bodvarsson
Subs Not used: Burgoyne, Williamson, Saville, Wilson
Gilks, Connolly, Burn, Buxton, Warnock, Power, MacDonald, Morsy, Jacobs (Hanson, 46), Grigg, Bogle (Obertan, 61).
Subs not used: Jaaskelainenen, Browne, Perkins, Weir, Tunnicliffe, Obertan