Ellington restores Wigan leadership

Coventry City 1 Wigan Athletic 2

Nathan Ellington delivered a winner of Premiership quality to reinstate impressive Wigan Athletic as Championship leaders last night.

Nathan Ellington delivered a winner of Premiership quality to reinstate impressive Wigan Athletic as Championship leaders last night.

The striker's 20th goal of the season was the final decisive act of a victory that increased the chances of both them and Coventry City leaving this division by opposite routes in May.

But spare a thought for the home side. Already bedding in new signings, they were forced into two first-half substitutions by injuries. Not surprisingly, they could not match Wigan's early fluency and fell behind in the ninth minute. Jason Roberts laid off near the edge of the area for Gary Teale to score with a powerful low right-footed shot at the near post.

When Richard Shaw limped out of the game, Coventry were in some chaos, only to be handed a quick lifeline. Gary McSheffrey's sharp turn drew an ill-timed challenge from Matt Jackson, with McSheffrey tucking away the penalty.

Wigan's early supremacy was soon re-established with a Gareth Whalley shot, but the potency of the counter-attacking must have encouraged Coventry's manager, Micky Adams.

He saw Trevor Benjamin sweep against the post from a centre by Michael Doyle, who was then denied by a stunning tip-over by John Filan after the former Coventry keeper had blocked well from McSheffrey.

Remarkably, Coventry lost a second player, the left-back Stuart Giddings, after an innocuous challenge, but almost went ahead when Andrew Whing headed against Filan from a free-kick by his fellow substitute, Claus Jorgensen.

In heavy snow, Wigan pushed hard after the interval for their vital breakthrough. Jimmy Bullard brought a full-length save from Ian Bennett from long-range, then the keeper denied Leighton Baines more routinely.

But Wigan deservedly regained their lead in the 68th minute when the ball broke to Ellington after an advance by Roberts. The striker lashed a magnificent 25-yard volley into the top corner of the net. Teale then fired over from Roberts' pass when a third goal beckoned.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Bennett; Duffy, Williams, Shaw (Jorgensen, 20), Giddings (Whing, 44); McSheffrey, Osbourne (Hughes, 74), Doyle, Hall; Benjamin, John. Substitutes not used: Adebola, Barrett.

Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Filan; Eaden (Wright, 79), Jackson, Breckin, Baines; Teale, Bullard, Whalley (Jarrett, 76), McCulloch; Roberts (Graham, 86), Ellington. Substitutes not used: Walsh (gk), McMillan.

Referee: R Beeby (Northamptonshire).

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