A dominant performance from Gary Caldwell’s charges saw Wigan break a three match winless run securing a play off spot going into Christmas.
Wigan made four changes to the side that lost to Blackpool last time out with a welcome return from injury for Captain Morgan and recalls for Daniel, Jacobs and a first league one start for promising youngster Andy Kellett. Making way were Wildschut, Davies, Barnett and Cowie. On the bench there was the notable absence of keeper Richard O’Donnell with Nicholls replacing him.
Barnsley and their manager are under pressure at the wrong end of the table but came out of the traps firing on all cylinders and Wigan vice captain Pearce earned the ire of the referee within the first five minutes picking up a yellow card for a bad foul on Newcastle loanee Toney.
Wigan comfortably withstood this early pressure and with Jacobs back to his best the away side gradually grew into the game. First up was Grigg whose sharp shot on the turn was well saved by the Barnsley keeper following good work by Andy Kellett.
Kellett has always been highly rated with many pundits beleiving that Bolton played him out of position as a defender/wing back and that his best position was further forwards. The young defender supported this hypothesis yesterday with an excellent performance. A beautiful through ball from Jacobs saw Kellett show great anticipation and this perception brought reward as Kellett slotted the ball home with aplomb, curling it with his left foot into the corner of the home goal.
Chances for Barnsley in the first half were few and far between, their best effort a header from Watkins which went wide of the goal.
The second half started with Wigan once again in the driving seat and their first chance saw a shot from the mercurial Power narrowly miss the goal. Kellett’s pace and sharpness caused constant problems for the home side and once again Jacobs vision put the youngster in a great position however Davies did well to save with his foot with Kellett through one on one with him.
Barnsley pushed forwards desperately searching for an equaliser but were caught with a sucker punch when substitute Wildschut took advantage of indecision amongst the Barnsley defenders who waited for a whistle from the referee which never came to round the keeper and slot the ball home for the winning goal.
Barnsley did have the ball in the net but the goal was ruled offside.
Wigan saw the game out for a welcome three points in their quest to reach the championship.
Team Line Up
Jaaskelainen, Love (Chow), Pearce, Morgan, Daniels, James, Kellett (Revell), Perkins, Power, Jacobs, Grigg (Wildschut)
Man of match………Kellett, a fine first start
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