MALKY’S MEN WIN DOG­FIGHT

Black­pool 15 points adrift in drop zone

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Scott Hunt

MALKY Mackay lauded a com­plete per­for­mance as Wi­gan gave them­selves a glim­mer of hope in the battle to avoid the Cham­pi­onship drop – but his Black­pool coun­ter­part Lee Clark all but ad­mit­ted rel­e­ga­tion was a cer­tainty for his side.

Gary Ma­dine’s late strike was scant con­so­la­tion for the Seasiders in the match be­tween the bot­tom two, af­ter goals from Kim Bo-kyung, Harry Maguire and James McClean had put the game to bed.

Black­pool have now slipped 15 points off safety af­ter Rother­ham beat Mill­wall and have the air of a club who, de­spite Clark’s ear­lier protes­ta­tions to the con­trary, have known their fate since the open­ing week­end.

Wi­gan’s last four wins have come away from home, with this one keep­ing them within nine points of safety and Mackay says they will fight to the very end.

“Over­all I thought it was a com­plete per­for­mance,” Mackay said. “It was al­ways go­ing to be a tough one com­ing here with us both scrap­ping des­per­ately for the points.

“Black­pool had to come out and leave us a bit more space in the sec­ond half.

“When they did start try­ing to lump balls in­stead of lash­ing clear­ances we were par­tic­u­larly calm in try­ing to play it out. The pitch is quite some­thing right now.

“For any­body to be calm and play foot­ball the way they did, I take my hat off.

“The points to­tal over the last six to eight weeks has not echoed the per­for­mances.

“If we can keep putting in per­for­mances like that we can put pres­sure on teams above us and we will do that right un­til the end.”

Wi­gan took the lead on the stroke of half-time af­ter prof­it­ing on chaotic Black­pool de­fend­ing.

McClean’s scuffed shot was in­ex­pli­ca­bly al­lowed to get to the back post, where James Perch found Kim who tapped home past a seated Joe Lewis.

The Lat­ics should have made it 2-0 on the counter af­ter 63 min­utes when McClean fed Marc-An­toine For­tune, who curled his ef­fort wide from 12 yards.

Wi­gan then dou­bled their lead af­ter 67 min­utes when Maguire’s header from Jer­maine Pen­nant’s cross ap­peared goal-bound but it was helped into the net by a des­per­ate Dar­ren O’Dea on the line.

And the game was well and truly sealed for Wi­gan af­ter 79 min­utes.

They flew for­ward through a non-ex­is­tent Black­pool de­fence on the counter and McClean slot­ted past Lewis – trig­ger­ing a mass exit from Bloom­field Road.

Black­pool grabbed a con­so­la­tion af­ter 85 min­utes when Tony McMa­hon crossed the ball from the by-line and Ma­dine tapped into an empty net.

But the Seasiders are now win­less in six and for Clark the re­sult was yet an­other frus­tra­tion.

“In terms of the home games and the per­for­mances and the re­sults this is the low­est I’ve been,” Clark said.

“It was a great op­por­tu­nity for us and we blew it. The gap be­tween us and the other teams has got wider so it’s made it a dif­fi­cult day for us all.

“While it’s still math­e­mat­i­cally pos­si­ble we’ve got to keep go­ing, to keep fight­ing and scrap­ping for points.

“In the first half there was too much fear and we con­ceded a poor goal, which makes it very dif­fi­cult for us.

“It’s go­ing to be a tough 36/48 hours but we have to try and make things change.

“It’s par­tic­u­larly tough be­cause it was an op­por­tu­nity to get close to the team above us and the teams around us.

“It’s a frus­trat­ing day.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

LAT­ICS LOVE: Wi­gan cel­e­brate with scorer Kim Bo-Kyung, sec­ond right

LOOP THE LOOP: Harry Maguire nods home Wi­gan’s sec­ond goal

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