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Wigan boost survival bid at Reading

Wigan boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Sky Bet Championship with a well-deserved 3-0 victory at Reading.

Lively Wigan thoroughly deserved their 1-0 half-time advantage, gained midway through the period thanks to Kieffer Moore’s audacious flick.

Jamal Lowe made it 2-0 in the 67th minute, as Reading struggled miserably in defence and attack, with a clinical strike and Michael Jacobs chipped home the third deep into stoppage time.

Wigan had been in good form, unbeaten in three league games and with only one defeat in six.

They defeated Millwall 1-0 at home on Saturday courtesy of a 57th-minute own goal from Shaun Hutchinson.

Wigan manager Paul Cook returned from a one-match touchline ban, served against Millwall, and watched his side make an impressive start.

Joe Williams played a long pass through to striker Moore, who tried to lob over home goalkeeper Rafael.

But the Brazilian, only just inside his area, managed to raise his arms in time to block Moore’s attempt.

Wigan were then fortunate to escape an error from keeper David Marshall, who fumbled a cross from Pele.

But they continued to press forward, with Rafael having to smartly save a 20-yard shot from Williams.

Lowe also scooped an effort before Wigan deservedly went in front in the 23rd minute.

Nathan Byrne crossed from the right and Moore, all alone in the six-yard area, scored with a cheeky backheeled volley. It was his sixth goal of the season.

Reading had offered little in attack and were already being jeered by sections of the sparse home crowd.

Wigan could have increased their lead before the interval but Cedric Kipre nodded over from a Sam Morsy centre.

Reading, playing in front of 10,088 people – their lowest league or cup attendance of the season – began brightly in the second half.

Manager Mark Bowen had made two substitutions at the break – introducing Michael Olise and Charlie Adam – and it was the former who tried his luck from 20 yards.

But Olise’s shot was always rising and Marshall was untroubled.

Wigan still looked dangerous on the counter and were rewarded when Lowe extended their lead.

Williams swung in a free-kick and, after it was only partially cleared, Lowe struck with a fine finish.

Marshall had to move swiftly to keep out an Olise effort from distance as Reading briefly rallied.

But the margin of Wigan’s win could have been greater had Rafael not made agile stops from Williams and Lee Evans.

Wigan had to play the closing minutes of stoppage time with 10 men after Cook had used his three substitutes and Chey Dunkley, one of the replacements, was taken off injured.

But they still managed to make it 3-0 when Jacobs broke clear and chipped home over Rafael.