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Returning Charlie Wyke sets up Wigan winner on return to football

Charlton Athletic v Wigan Athletic – Sky Bet League One – The Valley
(Image credit: Tess Derry)

Charlie Wyke set up 10-man Wigan’s winner on his first appearance since suffering a cardiac arrest last year as the Latics beat Birmingham 1-0.

The striker had not played in a competitive fixture since he collapsed in training on November 22.

But he made an quick impact at St Andrew’s on Saturday as he set up fellow substitute Nathan Broadhead’s 82nd-minute strike that earned Wigan their first win of the season.

Wigan had been playing with 10 men since Joe Bennett was sent off in the 10th minute but they held kept Birmingham out before clinching victory late on.

Leam Richardson’s men had drawn all three of their league games so far this season and they again highlighted that they are hard to beat.

John Eustace’s hosts made a promising start, with Przemyslaw Placheta firing over before Lukas Jutkiewicz – brought into the starting line-up in place of Troy Deeney – was involved in the first big talking point.

Juninho Bacuna threaded a first-time through ball into the former Burnley striker’s path and, as Jutkiewicz prepared to race clear on goal, he was adjudged to have been clipped by Bennett, who was shown a straight red card.

Bacuna curled the resulting free-kick narrowly wide.

The Blues looked to make their advantage tell and Scott Hogan saw an effort blocked by Jack Whatmough before the visitors went agonisingly close themselves as Tom Naylor fired just wide from inside the penalty area.

In a lively spell, Auston Trusty’s inviting ball reached Hogan at the far post but, sliding in at full stretch, he could only divert his effort over the crossbar while Jordan James bent a shot wide of Jamie Jones’ left post.

As the half went on, Blues struggled to create chances and Wigan grew in confidence, with Will Keane seeing an effort blocked just before the break.

The hard-working visitors looked comfortable in the early stages of the second half while Blues tried to up the tempo, Bacuna seeing an effort deflect wide and Jutkiewicz’s looping header easily gathered by Jones.

The hosts threw on Deeney and Jonathan Leko in an effort to make the breakthrough after 58 minutes, with Jutkiewicz and Josh Williams making way.

Wigan remained in the hunt for three points themselves though as Max Power’s low drive from the right forced John Ruddy into a save.

The hosts had their best chance of the half after 81 minutes as substitute Sam Cosgrove’s well-struck shot was turned away by Jones.

And the frustration mounted further for Blues a minute later as Wyke – on as a 70th-minute substitute – did well down the left before playing in Broadhead to fire low past Ruddy.

Jobe Bellingham saw a late effort saved and Dion Sanderson fired over as Blues desperately looked to claw back a point but Wigan held on for an impressive win.

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