MALKY’S MEN WIN DOGFIGHT
Blackpool 15 points adrift in drop zone
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.”
LATICS LOVE: Wigan celebrate with scorer Kim Bo-Kyung, second right
LOOP THE LOOP: Harry Maguire nods home Wigan’s second goal