Wigan Athletic recorded their first ever win in Division One with an emphatic victory over Burnley at Turf Moor with a goal in each half from Peter Kennedy and substitute Nathan Ellington, making his return from injury, ensuring that Latics took all three points from this Lancashire derby.
Making his debut was on loan Portsmouth striker Mark Burchill who lined up alongside Lee McCulloch to spearhead the Wigan attack.
The main difference in this game turned out to be Wigan’s rearguard and Burnley’s poor finishing with the home side enjoying large periods of possession but lacked the ability to put the ball away.
Stan Ternent’s side saw a couple of half chances go begging early in the game with the dangerous looking Luke Chadwick in midfield combining with Robbie Blake to set up Ian Moore on goal but the Wigan stood firm with Jason Jarrett timing his challenge well to deny the Burnley striker as early as the third minute.
Burnley continued to press forward but just couldn’t find a way past the Wigan defence but with what was probably Wigan’s first major assault on the Burnley goal they grabbed the lead thanks to a piece of clinical finishing after 12 minutes.
A cross from the right wing should have been dealt with by the Clarets defence but the ball slipped by everybody in the area. Mark Burchill cleverly dummied to allow the ball to land at the feet of PETER KENNEDY who fired a low drive home beyond Danish keeper Brian Jensen in the Burnley goal.
Ian Moore, making his first appearance of the season for Burnley after serving a three match suspension, headed wide of the mark from a Robbie Blake free kick and then at the other end of the field Mark Burchill showed a clean pair of heels to former Manchester United and Blackburn defender, getting to the byeline with blistering pace before delivering a low ball across the face of goal but luckily for Burnley nobody was around to finish off the move.
Neil Roberts was introduced to the game in the 20th minute, replacing Lee McCulloch who’d picked up a knock which could see him miss out for Tuesday night’s visit of Ipswich Town to the JJB Stadium.
Wigan’s defence were kept on their toes with around 10 minutes of the opening half remaining when Mohammed Camara sent in a teasing ball into the box which was cleared but on as far as Clarets winger Glen Little who hammered the ball goalbound only for it to be knocked behind by Ian Breckin at the expense of a corner.
Steve McMillan required attention by the goalpost after clashing heads with his own keeper John Filan, the Wigan left back needing stitches to a nasty looking gash across his forhead.
Paul Mitchell replaced McMillan and moved into the centre of midfield alongside Jason Jarrett with Jimmy Bullard moving out onto the left wing to allow goalscorer Peter Kennedy to fill the slot left by the Scot.
Neil Roberts wasted a golden opportunity to double his side’s lead just before the break when he collected a loose ball on the half way line before racing clear upfield but with the Burnley defence bearing down on him the Welsh striker decided to have a go from 20 odd yards out, sending a tame effort wide of Jensen’s right post.
However Latics went into the break having the advantage and despite Burnley having the majority of the possession Wigan rarely looked troubled with Filan hardly having a save to make.
Mark Burchill was replaced 10 minutes into the second half with his replacement Nathan Ellington receiving a rapturous welcome back from the Wigan fans amassed in the Lookers Stand behind the Burnley goal.
Robbie Blake, who had played under Paul Jewell at Bradford City, somehow put his effort over the bar from close range after receiving the ball in front of goal from Little in the 73rd minute.
Moments later the Burnley striker was replaced by French defender Arthur Gnohere, allowing Graham Branch, once on loan at Wigan, to push forward, adding a bit more height to the Burnley forward line who were being short changed by their opponents’ defence.
The Duke looked like he’d never been away, at ease on the ball, battling for possession, taking on the Burnley defence and with 13 minutes of normal time remaining he’d grabbed his first goal of the season which effectively wrote off any chance Burnley had of getting anything from this game.
Wigan earned themselves a corner down the left which Jimmy Bullard stepped up to take, sending the ball into the middle of the penalty area where NATHAN ELLINGTON was quickest to react, stabbing the ball home from six yards out.
Burnley twice went close in the final minutes of the game with Ian Moore seeing his goalbound header cleared off the line and then the home fans must have known it simply wasn’t going to be their day when substitute Richard Chaplow, on for Tony Grant, sent the ball crashing against the underside of the bar.
The result moved Wigan into 11th spot in the table with tough games coming up against Ipswich at the JJB on Tuesday night and a tricky trip to Rotherham 4 days later.