Two more goals from the Skybet Championship’s top scorer, Ross McCormack, gave Leeds United their first-ever home victory over Wigan Athletic in front of a healthy midweek Elland Road crowd.
McCormack struck from close range to give the Whites a 15th minute lead and his second half free-kick evaded everyone in the box to seal a 2-0 success over this year’s FA Cup winners.
Leeds made one change from the side that lost 1-0 at Blackburn on Saturday with Matt Smith brought in up front in place of Luke Varney and a 25,888 crowd saw them make a fast start to put their opponents under early pressure.
Luke Murphy’s shot from outside the area was comfortably saved by Wigan’s former Leeds keeper Scott Carson and Danny Pugh’s inviting cross led to a penalty appeal when Smith appeared to be blocked off.
United went ahead on 15 minutes as Jason Pearce headed down Alex Mowatt’s corner and in a crowd area McCormack nipped in to force the ball in, the linesman confirming that the ball went over the line.
Wigan, under caretaker manager Graham Barrow after Owen Coyle left the club this week, slowly found their feet and had the better of the rest of the half, forcing home keeper Paddy Kenny to make two good saves to deny Will Keane.
Mowatt was not far wide with a 20-yard volley, but Wigan worked another chance when Emerson Boyce was first to meet a corner with a header only to see the ball bounce down and wide.
It was all Wigan for the first 15 minutes of the second half with Leeds unable to hold the ball, but the visitors struggled to get in behind them and did not create a serious chance in this period up against a United back line in solid form.
With the crowd urging them on the Whites finally mustered an attack and Tom Lees scooped a shot over after a corner was not cleared.
McCormack’s angled shot was parried by Carson and Smith sent a header wide after getting on the end of a Pugh cross.
Smith then missed a sitter after robbing defender Ivan Ramis of the ball and racing clear only to shoot straight at Carson with the unmarked McCormack to his left and Luke Murphy to his right.
Carson saved again from Mowatt’s cross-shot, but he was beaten on 77 minutes when Pearce looked to meet McCormack’s well delivered angled free-kick, but the ball appeared to clear his boot before bouncing into the far corner of the net.
Wigan could have pulled a goal back as substitute Callum McManaman’s snap shot from the edge of the box flew over, but their challenge faded and it was Leeds celebrating a fifth successive home win.
Leeds United 2
(McCormack 15, 77)
Wigan Athletic 0
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Leeds: Kenny; Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce; Peltier, Murphy, Mowatt, Austin, Pugh; McCormack, Smith.
Wigan: Carson; Barnett, Ramis, Perch; Boyce, McArthur, Watson, McCann, Beausejour (McClean 55); Powell (McManaman 67), Keane (Holt 55).
Referee: Graham Scott.