Sky Bet League One leaders Wigan Athletic have inched closer to promotion to the Sky Bet Championship by beating Oxford United 1-0 at the DW Stadium.
In a game of few goalscoring chances, Latics top scorer Will Grigg came off the bench to tap in the winner just three minutes before time at Paul Cook’s side finally broke the visitors’ resistance.
The first half produced no goals but both sides had chances to opening the scoring. Oxford United went close just seconds into the match when a volley from Ricardo Ferreira Da Silva whistled just wide before visiting keeper Simon Eastwood needed two attempts to gather a thunderous Max Power effort from range at the other end.
Wigan Athletic were really unlucky not to score on the half hour mark when Michael Jacobs pulled away from the Oxford United defence and the player’s vicious strike on the turn cannoned off the crossbar.
Full-back Power was a constant threat from set plays and Eastwood had to be alert to tip his curled free-kick over the bar. A corner kick hit two Latics players soon after, before being hacked off the line by a visiting defender.
Canice Carroll then volleyed just wide from 30 yards for Oxford United before a Power free-kick went narrowly over the bar as the half ended goalless.
The start of the second half produced little in the way of goalscoring opportunities with Ryan Colclough’s ballooned effort being the closest which either side came to breaking the deadlock.
Striker Grigg was thrown on just after the hour mark and Athletic’s top scorer was unfortunate not to add to his goal tally as he flicked a chance over following a corner kick.
Oxford United’s best opportunity came from a counter attack and substitute Agon Mehmeti was denied the game’s opening goal by a superb save from Latics keeper Christian Walton.
The visitors were left to rue that missed opportunity moments later when Devante Cole played in fellow substitute Grigg to tap in the winning goal. Cole was unlucky not to add his name to the scoresheet in injury time when Oxford United keeper Eastwood deflected his shot onto the post but it didn’t matter as Wigan Athletic remained at the league summit courtesy of a 1-0 win.