Wigan Athletic 2 Derby County 0

Last updated : 14 February 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Rampant Wigan Athletic reinforced their claim to be considered as serious promotion contenders with an emphatic victory over struggling Derby County at the JJB Stadium.

After last week's impressive victory at Ipswich, Wigan returned to their home territory to pick up what is amazingly their first home win of the year and cement their place in the race for the Premiership.

A goal in each half from striker Nathan Ellington and substitute Lee McCulloch gave Wigan victory over a defensively minded Rams outfit that had 'struggling' written all over it.

Ellington struck a minute before the break when he headed home a perfect cross from home debutant Alan Mahon, while McCulloch clinched an impressive victory after 78 minutes when he hooked the ball into the roof of the net from close range after Ellington headed on Nicky Eaden's cross.

Derby showed little as an attacking force, although Wigan can count themselves lucky not to have gone behind early in the first half when in a rare break, John Filan pulled off a superb save from Noel Whelan.

The Wigan keeper had little to do but he denied Ian Taylor after the break as County chased the game in search of an equaliser.

But at the other end, Derby keeper Lee Grant made fine saves to deny Ellington, Neil Roberts and Jimmy Bullard, while efforts from Mahon and winger Gary Teale, who was being watched by Berti Vogts after his call up to the Scotland squad, flashed inches wide.