Wigan show play-off form as Gillingham crumble

Gillingham 0 Wigan 3
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The Independent Online

This was a routine execution for Wigan. Their razor sharp strikers Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts killed off beleaguered Gillingham with two ruthless first-half finishes. Competition is hotting up nicely at the top and the bottom.

This was a routine execution for Wigan. Their razor sharp strikers Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts killed off beleaguered Gillingham with two ruthless first-half finishes. Competition is hotting up nicely at the top and the bottom.

Given that in their last match Wigan achieved a feat managed by few teams this season, in capitulating at home to Wimbledon, it was intriguing to see what they would do against another team from the relegation quagmire.

Wigan started fluently enough, flooding men forward against a nervy Gillingham side who seemed flustered when on the defensive and who were treating the ball like a hot potato when on the attack. A good example of this was provided by the giant striker, Mamady Sidibe, who killed off a rare moment of first half momentum, producing an anti-climactic cross as eager team-mates swarmed into positions in the box. But the Wigan keeper, John Filan, was finally called upon when Alan Pouton's 30-yarder was nicely tipped over.

Wigan then suddenly switched into a higher gear. Ellington had a goal disallowed, but that just served to fire the visitors forward, Wigan taking the lead when a Jimmy Bullard free-kick found Ellington at the far post and the striker lashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Ellington then cruised into the box, and with just the keeper to beat, Steve Banks produced a fine save. The second goal came with a lightning finish on the turn from Roberts. Wigan then applied the coup de grace midway through the second half when Alan Mahon headed home.

"That performance was a recipe for relegation," said Gillingham's assistant manager, Wayne Jones. "We played like a team of strangers." It was Paul Jewell's first success at Gillingham as player or manager: "We always bounce back after a bad result. We looked like our old self again."

Gillingham (4-4-2) : Banks; Southall, Hope, Leon Johnson, Rose (Cox, 77); Hessenthaler, Pouton, Spiller (Crofts, 82), Agyemang (Jarvis, 52); Sidibe, Wales. Substitutes not used: Bossu, Beckwith.

Wigan (4-4-2) : Filan; Eaden, Breckin, De Vos, Baines; Liddell, Jarrett, Bullard (Neil Roberts, 87), Mahon; Ellington (Farrelly, 87), Jason Roberts (McCulloch, 80). Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Walsh.

Referee: S Tomlin (E Sussex)

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