Match report: Wigan Athletic 0-1 Derby County

Jack Marriott scored the winner as Derby County beat 10-man Wigan Athletic 1-0 at the DW Stadium.

Wigan had Kal Naismith sent off for a professional foul on Harry Wilson after only 15 minutes of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship encounter.

Marriott headed the Rams in front shortly afterwards, in the 21st minute, on his return from injury.

It was his eighth goal of the season and proved to be enough to clinch the three points.

Jack Marriott celebrates for Derby County at Wigan Athletic
(Image: Andy Clarke)

The win lifted Derby back into the play-off zone and up to third in the table at the time of writing.

Frank Lampard made one change from the side that started the 2-1 home victory over Swansea City last weekend.

Marriott returned after missing the Swansea game due to a badly bruised foot.

He came in for David Nugent, who dropped to the bench. Midfielder Max Bird was the player to drop out of the squad but young defender Calum Macdonald was named in the 18 for a second match running.

Bradley Johnson, who scored the winner on Derby’s previous visit to Wigan two years ago, served the second game of his five-match suspension.

He was joined on the sidelines by Curtis Davies (Achilles), Craig Forsyth (knee), Mason Bennett (hamstring) and Marcus Olsson (knee).

Joe Ledley is back in training after hip surgery but did not feature and neither did fellow midfielder George Evans, who played for the under-23s on Friday night.

Wigan boss Paul Cook also made one change, following his side’s 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers.

Former Derby loan striker James Vaughan replaced Will Grigg up front for the Latics.

Nick Powell (hamstring) was not deemed fit enough to return to action, with Antonee Robinson (ankle), Gavin Massey (hamstring), Chey Dunkley (knee) and ex-Rams winger Michael Jacobs (hamstring) also sidelined by injury.

Fikayo Tomori in action for Derby County at Wigan Athletic
(Image: Andy Clarke)

The hosts were first to threaten, in the fourth minute.

Naismith and Josh Windass combined nicely to find Nathan Byrne in the box, on the left, and his dangerous low centre was parried by Scott Carson and grabbed at the second attempt.

Carson, who Derby signed from Wigan in 2015, took a knock in the process, with Windass appearing to catch him in the head, but the keeper was able to continue after receiving treatment.

The Rams carved out their first sight of goal in the eighth minute.

Jayden Bogle cut inside from the right and got past his man before seeing an angled drive pushed around the post by Christian Walton.

Tom Lawrence in action for Derby County at Wigan Athletic
(Image: Andy Clarke)

Wigan got in down the left again in the 10th minute but this time Gary Roberts’ centre flashed across the face of goal, just evading Vaughan at the near post.

Five minutes later, the home side were reduced to 10 men.

Fikayo Tomori launched the ball forward to Marriott, who brought it down beautifully on the volley before threading a pass in behind the defence for Wilson to run on to.

Wilson looked set to be in on goal before being clearly hauled down by Naismith just outside the area.

Referee Gavin Ward decided it was a sending off offence and showed the Wigan left-back a straight red card.

Wilson could not beat the defensive wall from the free kick – but Derby did take the lead with 20 minutes on the clock.

Mason Mount in action for Derby County at Wigan Athletic
(Image: Andy Clarke)

Tom Lawrence found Bogle in space wide on the right and his cross was expertly glanced into the far corner of the net by the head of Marriott from eight yards out.

Derby looked to press home their advantage – and were soon all over Wigan.

Tom Huddlestone’s shot was deflected wide before Lawrence fired over from a tight angle.

The Rams went close to a second goal in the 27th minute.

Derby were appealing for a penalty after Lawrence went down in the box – but Marriott played to the whistle and won the ball back and drilled in a low cross from the left.

Walton parried the ball out, it hit Craig Bryson and broke into the path of Wilson, whose goalbound effort was blocked on the line by Byrne.

Harry Wilson’s strike is cleared off the line for Derby County at Wigan Athletic
(Image: Andy Clarke)

Cook had to do something to stem the tide – and he made a double change on the half-hour, sacrificing Vaughan and Roberts, and bringing on Callum Connolly and Darron Gibson.

The Rams continued to largely control proceedings but Wigan managed to keep the deficit down to one at the break.

Wilson and Latics skipper Sam Morsy clashed following a hefty challenge in the 32nd minute. Morsy claimed the Derby man had headbutted him as the pair squared up – but both players were eventually booked.

Lawrence bent a shot narrowly wide from Marriott’s lay-off, while Mason Mount’s well-struck 20-yarder was pushed behind by the diving Walton.

Marriott glanced another header wide from another Bogle cross and, at the other end, Reece James saw his free kick travel straight into the arms of Carson on the stroke of half-time.

Samy Morsy and Craig Bryson battle during Wigan Athletic v Derby County
(Image: Andy Clarke)

Derby continued to press after the interval as Wigan looked to stay in the game.

Wilson was off target after being picked out by Bogle 25 yards from goal.

Mount then released Marriott with a lovely chipped pass but the striker could not connect properly with his half-volley and Walton made an easy save.

As the game went on, Wigan seemed to grow in belief that they could salvage something.

Byrne’s ball in from the left flashed across the six-yard box.

Then, Windass played in Reece James but his shot from the edge of the area lacked power and was straight at Carson.

The warning signs were there for Derby, whose lead remained a fragile one.

Harry Wilson is challenges during Wigan Athletic v Derby County
(Image: Andy Clarke)

In the 67th minute, Wilson burst into the area and went down as Dan Burn prepared to make a challenge. Wigan players surrounded the referee urging him to show the midfielder a second yellow card for diving.

After consulting with his assistant, Ward decided to take no further action. To his credit, Wilson was quickly on his feet and did not really appeal for a penalty.

Wilson was soon replaced, perhaps for his own good, and was booed off by the home fans.

Morsi fired narrowly wide from 20 yards, while Windass had the ball in the net with 15 minutes to go – but was a mile offside.

Derby were looking somewhat ragged at times, having been firmly in control of the match at one stage.

Substitute Joe Garner volleyed wide of the near post from James’ 89th-minute corner.

Tom Huddlestone in action for Derby County at Wigan Athletic
(Image: Andy Clarke)

The Rams might have sealed the points on the break when Nugent picked out the run of fellow substitute Duane Holmes but he dragged a shot well wide under pressure.

Derby had to soak up some pressure in the closing minutes, in wet and windy conditions, but managed to see the game out.

WIGAN ATHLETIC: Walton, James, Kipre, Burn, Naismith, Byrne, Evans, Morsy, Roberts (Connolly, 30), Windass (Garner, 83), Vaughan (Gibson, 30). Other subs: Jones (gk), Bruce, McManaman, Grigg.

DERBY COUNTY: Carson, Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Malone, Huddlestone, Bryson (Holmes, 77), Mount, Wilson (Jozefzoon, 71), Lawrence, Marriott (Nugent, 89). Other subs: Roos (gk), Macdonald, Pearce, Waghorn.

REFEREE: G Ward (Surrey).

ATTENDANCE: 10,768 (2,003 away fans).