Port Vale went to the top of our EFL Trophy group, after a Theo Robinson brace and a Cristian Montano goal secured a 3-1 win at Wigan Athletic.
Vale suffered an early set-back at the DW Stadium, when David Amoo had to be taken off the pitch after a conversation with the physio, seemingly suffering with a hamstring strain, with David Worrall replacing him.
Despite the home side having more of the ball in the early stages of the game, it was Vale who had the first real chance of the contest, when Theo Robinson found himself in space in the box after four minutes, before placing a shot straight at Wigan goalkeeper Owen Evans.
And it was Vale who carried on calving out the chances, as substitute David Worrall’s ball across the box found Alex Hurst, before his shot was blocked and eventually cleared by a Wigan defender.
It took the League One side 11 minutes to produce their first genuine chance of the game, when Tom Pearce’s effort was flashed wide of Dino Visser’s post.
But it was the Valiants who took the lead, when Worrall found himself in acres of space in the Latics box, before squaring the ball to Theo Robinson, who simply tapped the ball home at the far post to give Vale a deserved lead.
Vale almost doubled the lead just five minutes later, with Worrall again causing Wigan problems, after he found himself through on goal, before his shot was well saved by Owen Evans.
At the other end of the pitch, Robinson’s back pass was intercepted by Pearce but Shaun Brisley’s perfectly timed tackle prevented the Wigan man from getting a free shot in at goal.
And Brisley’s tackle proved critical as the Valiants doubled their lead in the following attack, as Cristian Montano’s ball was deflected through into the path of Theo Robinson, who slotted the ball through the Evans’ legs, to grab his and Vale’s second goal of the night at the half-hour mark.
Vale’s dominance continued, when Tom Pope, back from his suspension, crossed the ball into the box only for Danny Whitehead’s volley to sail just over the top of the bar.
A superb first-half performance continued, as Pope and Whitehead linked together just outside the box, before the latter played a ball through to Montano, who’s shot inside the box rifled off the crossbar and over.
Vale almost had a three-goal cushion at half-time, when James Gibbons’ low ball into the box was picked up by Robinson who’s shot on the turn was aimed straight at Evans who was on hand to push the ball wide, to make sure that the visitors only led by two goals at half-time.
Wigan had the first chance of the second-half, when Tom James’ header inside the box sailed over Visser’s crossbar.
But it only took ten minutes of second-half action before a piece of Montano magic added a third goal to Vale’s tally.
The left-back drove forward with the ball out wide, before cutting inside and attempting to play the ball through to Robinson before collecting a loose ball, weaving past the Wigan defence and slotting home past Evans to cap off an impressive performance for the versatile wide man.
With just over 20 minutes of the game remaining, it was Adam Crookes’ turn to put in a perfectly timed tackle, after Brisley lost the ball inside his own half, before Crookes came across and dispossessed the oncoming Wigan attacker.
It took 75 minutes for Visser to be called into his first real action of the game, tipping Tom Pearce’s free-kick from the edge of the area past the post.
Wigan pulled a goal back with 12 minutes of the game remaining after Tom Pearce’s free-kick from 25 yards out, flew into the top right-hand corner, leaving Visser with no chance.
The Valiants were dealt another blow with just five minutes of normal time remaining, when James Gibbons went down injured, meaning Vale would have to see out the remainder of the game with ten men.
As the game ticked over onto 90 minutes Dino Visser pulled of two superb saves back-to-back from close range, keeping Vale’s lead at two goals going into the five minutes of stoppage time.
And the Valiants comfortably saw out the rest of the game, sending us top of our EFL Trophy group, ahead of our Sky Bet League Two clash with Carlisle United at Vale Park on Saturday.
Port Vale: Visser, Gibbons, Crookes, Brisley, Montano (Fitzpatrick 64’), Burgess, Whitehead, Hurst, Amoo (Worrall 7’), Pope, Robinson (Rodney 64’).
Unused subs: Brown, Conlon, Cullen, Trickett-Smith.
Wigan Athletic: O. Evans, James (Soloman-Otabor 70’), Obi, Johnson, Pearce, Merrie, Perry, Gardner, L. Evans (Baningime 61’), Crankshaw, Jolley.
Unused subs: Jones, Joseph, Aasgaard, Robinson.