Joel Piroe bags brace as Swansea see off Championship bottom side Wigan
Wigan took another step towards an immediate return to Sky Bet League One after going down 2-0 at home to midtable Swansea with barely a whimper.
A first-half brace from Dutch striker Joel Piroe claimed maximum points against the Championship basement boys, who remain eight points adrift of safety and with only five matches left to pull off what looks to be an impossible task of survival.
The home side actually started the brighter and were almost in front with their first attack.
Wonderful vision from Callum Lang saw him release James McClean down the left channel.
The Republic of Ireland international controlled and fired goalwards, only for his shot to be blocked almost on the goal line by Nathan Wood.
Unfortunately for Wigan, that was about the sum total of their first-half threat as Swansea quickly gained total control over proceedings.
A nice move from the visitors, involving Jay Fulton and Joe Allen, saw the ball find Piroe, who fired wide of the mark.
However, Wigan were not so lucky after 14 minutes when Piroe gave Swansea the lead.
Fulton found the Dutchman via a slight deflection which deceived Ryan Nyambe and Piroe slotted the ball home coolly past Ben Amos.
At the other end, Swansea goalkeeper Andy Fisher – making a return to his hometown – could not hold a Max Power corner, only for Tom Naylor to fire over the crossbar.
Fisher then comfortably dealt with an Ashley Fletcher header off another Power delivery, before Swansea gained a stranglehold on the game.
Somehow, the Latics got away with one when Jamie Paterson cut into their box and wrong-footed Charlie Hughes, before being tripped by the youngster.
To the amazement of all – especially Paterson – referee Sam Allison waved away penalty appeals.
But Wigan’s luck ran out after 34 minutes when Fulton again found Piroe unmarked and the left-footed finish was an almost carbon copy of the first goal.
A Piroe free-kick was then headed over the crossbar by Allen, before Wigan dodged another bullet just before the break.
Again Piroe found himself unmarked at the far post and this time he thundered a shot against the post from close range.
The scoreline hugely flattered Wigan, for whom things did not really improve after the break.
Despite the introduction of Thelo Aasgaard, Josh Magennis, top scorer Will Keane, Tom Pearce and Scott Smith – making his league debut – they were kept at arm’s length.
Keane lashed a decent chance over from eight yards, before Aasgaard was given too much time and space on the edge of the Swansea box.
The Norway Under-20 international’s curling effort was destined for the top corner, only for Fisher to pull off a magnificent save at full stretch.
By this point, Swansea were well and truly in cruise control, content they had already won the game with their first-half efforts.
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