Cook dedicates win to redundant staff
Wigan are one of the form teams in the Championship and they will need every bit of that form to overcome the loss of 12 points after going into administration.
As questions remain unanswered as to how the 2013 FA Cup winners have ended up in such a position, Paul Cook, the manager, and his players deservedly saw off the challenge of QPR for three vital points.
After a 3-0 loss at Brentford on Saturday, days after digesting the news, this was more like the Wigan who have picked up 21 points from their past 10 games.
The table is not supposed to lie, but in Wigan’s case, it simply does not tell the true story. The points deduction only applies to the final standings, so rather than pushing mid-table as they should be, they are firmly in the bottom three.
In reality, they are four points adrift of safety with four games left and face games against the two sides currently occupying 22nd and 23rd places, Hull City and Barnsley respectively, in the next six days.
Fans in these parts became used to great escape acts during their time in the Premier League, masterminded by Paul Jewell and Roberto Martinez, but beating the drop to League One would top that list.
However, rather than focus on football, Cook reflected afterwards on the human cost of events of the past few days, with 75 members of staff losing their jobs at the club.
“That win is for Wigan, the town and the people who have been made unemployed,” he said. “This week has been the toughest week of my career, but I’m lucky to still be in work. We were flat when we lost at Brentford, but not as flat as those who have lost their jobs.” Wigan’s predicament had already got worse before kick-off, following Middlesbrough’s win at Millwall, which had put a further point between them and survival.
But there was real intensity from the off and that urgency eventually brought its reward following dynamic play from captain Sam Morsy to slip in Kieffer Moore, and the Welsh international fired into the roof of the net.
Wigan’s forward should have made it safe early in the second half, but he curled wide of the far post after making space for himself in the area.
And they needed goalkeeper David Marshall to preserve the advantage on the hour mark with a smart save from Ilias Chair in a rare QPR attack. But anything less than a home win would have been unjust, and the strength of feeling from the playing staff at the final whistle underlined how important the evening was to this proud club.
Crucial strike: Kieffer Moore fires Wigan’s winner past QPR goalkeeper Joe Lumley