Wigan Athletic moved further towards a potentially remarkable escape from relegation as they defeated a toothless Hull City at the DW Stadium on Tuesday evening by a record score line.
Story of the match
Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook made one change to his side, with Leon Balogun returning from injury in place of Danny Fox. Emeka Obi came in on the bench for his first involvement with the Latics. In contrast, Hull manager Grant McCann made three changes to his side for the away game with Wigan Athletic, with Matthew Pennington, Jon Toral and Josh Magennis coming in for Angus Macdonald, Kevin Stewart and Tom Eaves respectively.
Wigan started the game on the front foot, with Joe Williams having a shot from range after only fifteen seconds, but George Long was equal to it. However; after a quick corner, Kieran Dowell floated the ball across to the back post for Kal Naismith to head home after two minutes. This was groundhog day for the Tigers, who had conceded a goal in the first five minutes in three out of the last four games - this made it four out of the last five.
After five minutes, Naismith had a shot from range, but Long had it covered and it just drifted wide. It very nearly was 2-0, with Antonee Robinson slipping in Jamal Lowe, whose effort just brushed the side netting after being put under pressure by Jordy De Vijs.
The first time Wigan keeper David Marshall had any action to deal with came from George Honeyman's over-hit cross that would have dropped into the net, but Marshall gathered it easily. Hull looked completely bereft of creativity and it was clear why they have only picked up six points since New Year's Day.
After the drinks break, David Marshall's misplaced pass was gathered by Jon Toral on the edge of the area. However, his effort was blocked by the Wigan defender - with Marshall off the hook.
Wigan went 2-0 up on 27 minutes. Jamal Lowe turned De Wijs inside out, and crossed for Kieffer Moore to score his eighth goal of the season. The Hull defence was at sixes and sevens and it was all too easy for Wigan. Naismith should have made it 3-0 moments later but his effort hit the post and came back out. Matthew Pennington headed the ball off the line after a corner, and Wigan looked like a team playing with the play-offs in their mind, rather than scrapping for their Championship lives.
It was 3-0 to Wigan when Kieran Dowell had all the time in the world in the area to smash in from the edge of the area. The frustration for Hull City was epitomised by George Honeyman's late tackle that earned him a caution. McCann responded by making his first change - Josh Bowler was withdrawn for Dan Batty, as the Northern Irishman changed his system to 3-5-2, with Mallik Wilks going up top next to Magennis. It nearly paid dividends straight away - Jon Toral mis-kicked and Marshall gathered comfortably.
It went from bad to worse for Hull City. It was 4-0 after 37 minutes. Jamal Lowe had a simple finish after a cross wasn't dealt with by the Hull defense. Quite how Hull were going to get back in the game was anyone's guess, as McCann looked clueless on the sideline as to what was going wrong. Remarkably, it was 5-0 to Wigan two minutes later. A simple header for Moore rubbed salt in the Tigers' wounds and this was beginning to look like Wigan were playing a semi-pro outfit. Hull were toothless going forward, woeful at the back and it looked like the majority of the players had just downed tools.
Dowell then grabbed his second to make it 6-0 and this was really becoming the most one sided Championship game seen this season. Jon Toral went into the book for a late challenge and the frustration from the Hull City players were clear for all to see, but they simply couldn't compete with Wigan as Joseph Williams smashed in his first for 7-0. Quite an astonishing first half, which could have seen Wigan awarded a penalty just as the half time whistle went.
The second half saw two substitutions from Grant McCann - Jon Toral and Mallik Wilks were hooked and Tom Eaves and Kevin Stewart made their way onto the pitch. Ryan Tafazolli also replaced Matthew Pennington. Paul Cook's side lined up for the second half unchanged.
On 51 minutes Hull carved out their first chances. Elder's cross was well met by Magennis, but Marshall saved well. From the resulting corner, Hull's shots were blocked twice - once from Burke, and again from Tafazolli. Soon after though, Antonee Robinson's effort clipped the bar as Wigan almost grabbed an eighth.
Tom Pearce, Lee Evans and Gavin Massey all entered the fray for Wigan, and Keane Lewis-Potter went up front alongside Tom Eaves, with Magennis making way. Wigan's intensity dropped and understandably so, but they still looked the most likely of the two teams to score throughout the second half. Hull had a little more resolve but the damage had already been done in the previous 45 minutes.
Kieran Dowell made it 8-0 with an outstanding finish, chipping in a left footed effort which clipped in off the frame of the goal. The Tigers players looked drained and any fight they may have shown at the start of the second half had now diminished. Hull's record defeat was 8-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 4 November 1911, and with 20 minutes still remaining, the record books looked like they would potentially have to be re-written. De Wijs and Eaves went close from consecutive corners, but Wigan snuffed out both chances.
Hull had a couple of chances that went close - Tom Eaves tested David Marshall from close range but the goal keeper was equal to it. There were chances created from the away side, and Keane Lewis-Potter was the driving force behind apparently winning a penalty - before referee Tony Harrington remarkably changed his mind and overturned the decision.
The game slowed down in the last ten minutes, but still saw Wigan creating chances and pushing for a ninth. It did finish 8-0, however - Hull's worst defeat in over 100 years, and one that surely ends their status as a Championship club.
Takeaways from the match
Wigan Athletic were outstanding, but Hull were woeful. The first half saw them concede seven goals and look utterly hopeless against a team that were supposed to be relegation rivals. Hull looked like a team many divisions below their hosts and were simply chasing shadows as they conceded five goals in less than twenty minutes.
Hull simply could not handle the relentless pressure from Wigan, and it was all too easy for Paul Cook's men. Hull are now staring down the barrel of a relegation that will see them play in the third tier of English football for the first time since 2005.
Kieran Dowell was the best of a very good and confident bunch, grabbing his second career hat trick. Ironically, it was Hull City that he scored his first hat trick against when he played on loan at Nottingham Forest. The youngster was unplayable at times at always looked like scoring. His third goal in particular was the pick of the bunch - a lovely chipped finish that gave George Long no chance.
For the Tigers, only local youngster Keane Lewis-Potter emerged from the game with any real credit. That is some feat, as he was on the pitch the least amount of time of all the players that finished the game, coming onto the pitch on the hour mark to replace Josh Magennis. Initially it looked like he had won a penalty with just over ten minutes to go, but the referee overturned his own decision and gave a free kick against the youngster.
Up next for both
Wigan travel to Charlton Athletic on Saturday lunchtime, hoping to move themselves further away from the relegation quagmire. Hull City host Luton Town, but whether manager Grant McCann is still in charge by then remains to be seen.
Wigan Athletic: Marshall; Byrne, Robinson (Evans 56'), Balogun (Dobre 77'), Lowe; Morsy, Williams (Pearce 56'), Kipre; Dowell (Roberts 71'), Naismith, Moore (Massey 56').
Substitutions (Not used): Gelhardt, Jones, Obi, Mlakar.
Hull City: Long; Pennington (Tafazolli 45'), Burke, De Vijs, Elder; Toral (Eaves 45'), Honeyman, Da Silva; Wilks (Stewart 45'), Bowler (Batty 35'), Magennis (Lewis-Potter 57').
Substitutions (Not used): Ingram, MacDonald, McLaughlin, Scott.