Before his debut against Bury the previous weekend Neil Redfearn was being offered at 50/1 by a local bookmakers to score the opening goal of the match. This weekend they had him down at 9/2.
The bookies obviously knew that the 34-year-old former Bradford and Charlton midfielder would prove himself to be the tonic for Wigan’s recent ailing form.
Redfearn bagged a goal in each half to make it three wins out of three since his arrival and maintain Wigan’s push towards automatic promotion and Division One.
His two strikes both came from dead ball situations, the first a thunderous free kick and the second from the spot but if Wigan could have converted just half of the clear cut chances they created for themselves it could have easily been eight or nine in a game that they dominated from start to finish.
Deadline day loan signing Michael Clegg gave an impressive debut, fitting in well with a squad that he had only joined 48 hours previously and showed the home faithful just what he is capable of.
Clegg’s former Manchester United team mate, Terry Cooke, is improving every game and on numerous occassions throughout the game threatened the County defence with his skill and flair as he set off on one of his jinking runs down the right flank.
The opener came on six minutes after Simon Haworth was bundled over by Notts County defender Ian Richardson and Redfearn stepped up to thunder home the resulting free kick from 25 yards out, squeezing the ball in off the right hand post with Darren Ward diving low at full stretch unable to do anything about it.
Latics then began to take over the proceedings with Haworth, Liddell, Peron and Redfearn all going close to increasing the lead.
County rarely troubled the Wigan defence and when they managed to push forward they were thwarted by the rock solid Wigan defensive line with Roy Carroll hardly getting a touch of the ball.
Half Time: Wigan Athletic 1 Notts County 0
The second half was one way traffic with Latics peppering the Notts County area with cross after cross from either wing.
County can be grateful to their keeper Darren Ward for a number of fine saves which kept the deficit to a single goal for much of the second period.
That was until the 81st minute when Simon Haworth found himself in space in the County penalty area only to be hacked down by Richard Liburd. Leeds referee Mike Riley had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
A number of young fans leapt from their seats in the South Stand behind the County goal in a bid to ‘suck’ the ball into the back of the net.
They needn’t have bothered as that man again Redfearn stepped up and hammered the spot kick to the right, leaving Ward with no chance whatsoever.
It’s now undefeated in the last six with four wins and automatic promotion looks to be well and truely back on track after a barren spell which saw Latics only produce one win out of eight.
Wigan travel south to Brentford next Saturday before entertaining Preston North End at the JJB which is potentially the championship decider and a definite ‘six-pointer’.
Full Time: Wigan 2 Notts County 0