Shrewsbury Town 0 – 3 Wigan Athletic Champions
League One – Montgomery Waters Meadow
Saturday 30th April 2022
0 – 3
Vela O.G (43)
Keane (50 pen)
It was an afternoon to remember, saviour and cherish as Wigan Athletic sealed their promotion to the Sky Bet Championship as champions of League One following a 3-0 victory at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday afternoon.
Latics broke the deadlock at the end of a fiercely contested first half through Josh Vela’s own goal before Will Keane’s second-half double helped Leam Richardson’s side earn all three points in a memorable performance at Montgomery Waters Meadow. The excellent result meant that Latics sealed their promotion to the second tier and the League One title, a heroic achievement given all the unique challenges that the Club has faced over the last 12 months.
Latics arrived at Montgomery Waters Meadow knowing that a victory would be enough to secure their title, and they made two changes from their narrow defeat at Portsmouth in midweek. Kell Watts came back into the centre of defence for Joe Bennett whilst James McClean made a welcome return from injury in place of Tom Pearce.
It was, in fact, the home side who flexed their muscles first when Luke Leahy’s deep free-kick was on the money for Aaron Pierre to attack at the far post, but he was unable to direct his effort towards goal.
Salop continued their bright start to the League One encounter when Daniel Udoh drove into the penalty area on the left-hand side and hit a low shot towards the near post, but Latics goalkeeper Ben Amos stood firm to make the save.
Latics then had their first sighting on goal in the 10th minute when a corner was worked short to McClean and his left-footed delivery was met by Watts, but he could only glance his header over the crossbar.
Richardson’s side began to gain the ascendancy and they created another chance just four minutes later from the same well-worked corner routine when McClean’s inviting cross just evaded Jack Whatmough six yards out with a tap-in looking likely at the far post.
Former Latics Academy graduate Marko Marosi started in goal for the hosts, and he was then called into action in the 23rd minute when he showed great reflexes to tip Max Power’s 30-yard free-kick behind for a corner that came to nothing.
In an end-to-end game in Shropshire, Salop withheld a period of sustained pressure before coming close through Joshua Daniels after he latched onto a pull back from the right-hand side, but Whatmough was positioned perfectly to hook the danger clear.
With time running out in the first half, Latics opened the scoring in the 44th minute through an own goal. McClean set the ball for Power to whip a free-kick from the left and his strike hit the post before ricocheting onto Vela and into the back of the net. The goal was met with unstoppable celebrations from the sold-out away end!
Latics picked up from where they left off at the start of the second half and made it two from the penalty spot in the 50th minute. Power’s shot from just inside the area was adjudged to have a hit a hand of the Shrewsbury Town man, and Keane stepped up to confidently dispatch his spot-kick into the corner. It was his 25th league goal of the season and a one that sent the 1,700 away supporters into a frenzy!
It got even better for Richardson’s side in the 65th minute when Latics added a third through Keane’s second of the afternoon. McClean’s outstanding free-kick from the left-hand side was on point for Keane to glance into the top corner, once again sparking unbelievable scenes in the away end!
The home side had a significant opportunity to pull one back with just 11 minutes remaining when Ryan Bowman capitalised on a defensive error and squared the ball to Udoh, but Amos came out strongly to gather the ball.
Latics then produced a professional display during the remainder of the League One encounter to resolutely protect their lead and earn all three points in Shropshire.
After the final blow of the referee’s whistle confirmed Latics’ promotion to the Championship as champions of League One, euphoric scenes followed and chants of “Don’t you know pump it up, the Tics are going up!” proudly echoed around the away end in Shropshire.
The 2021/22 campaign will forever go down in Wigan Athletic history as the first full season under the ownership of Phoenix 2021 Limited. It’s been a season to remember, with Leam Richardson, the management staff and his players all carrying themselves with such dignity and pride throughout the last 10 months and being the true embodiment of everything that the Club stands for.
From the outside, promotion looked to be an audacious target for a side that had just a small number of senior players on the books after surviving relegation to League Two in the previous season. However, for manager Richardson, his squad and the Board, the belief was always there that this special Club could once again continue our proud history of defying the odds.
Quietly going about their business throughout the season, Latics have well and truly proved that their ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’ by sealing their return to the Championship as champions of League One following their outstanding victory at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
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