Hull City sink Wigan Athletic to wrap up League One title

Hull City won their first title in 55 years after wrapping up the League One championship on the penultimate weekend of 2020-21.

Hull City were crowned League One champions following Saturday's 3-1 win over Wigan Athletic. Picture: Getty Images
Hull City were crowned League One champions following Saturday's 3-1 win over Wigan Athletic. Picture: Getty Images

Promotion back to the second-tier already secured, the Tigers opened up an unassailable lead at the summit courtesy of Saturday's 3-1 success over Wigan Athletic.

That victory - the clubs's 11th in 14 unbeaten matches - wouldn't quite have been enough on its own, however second-placed Peterborough United could only draw 3-3 at home to Lincoln City, thus ending their hopes of nicking top spot.

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In the end, City won the game at a canter, but they certainly knew that they were in a real fight for a big chunk of what was a chilly May afternoon.

The opening exchanges were very even with the Latics looking anything but a side in danger of relegation in terms of their early attacking play.

Indeed, it required an important last-ditch block by Alfie Jones on eight minutes to slam the door shut on Joseph Dodoo with the visiting striker poised to test Matt Ingham from a dangerous position.

At the other end, a neat bit of interplay ended with Callum Elder delivering a low cross from the left which hit Josh Magennis two yards out and bounced the wrong side of the post.

Lee Evans then shot narrowly wide from distance for Athletic before the Tigers seized a 17th-minute lead.

Another tidy bit of approach play ended with Lewie Coyle standing the ball up from close to the right-hand byline for Keane Lewis-Potter to nod home at the far post despite the best efforts of Jamie Jones in the Wigan goal.

Given how slick they had looked going forwards, it was no great surprise to see the visitors draw level within 60 seconds of going a goal down, Will Keane getting in behind down the left and sliding a pass across the face of goal that Dodoo could not fail to convert from barely a yard out.

The end-to-end nature of the contest continued and Hull were back in the ascendancy before the mid-way point of the half.

Mallik Wilks got the wrong side of the Wigan back-line down the right and drove infield towards goal before producing a clever back-heel which teed-up George Honeyman to drill beyond Jones.

That strike seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Latics for a spell, though Ingram did have to stretch to keep out Lee Evans' 22-yard goal-bound free-kick.

Josh Magennis looked to have extended the City lead when he nodded in Elder's left-wing cross, only to see his effort was ruled out for a foul by the Northern Irishman on his marker.

There were no real protests from the home contingent following that decision by referee Robert Madley, however Athletic were left fuming in stoppage-time when they were denied a spot-kick.

Jacob Greaves lunged in on Callum Lang inside the Hull box and looked to have taken the man before eventually stretching to make contact with the ball, but Mr Madley saw fit to award just a corner.

The second 45 began in far more tentative fashion than the first, with neither team able to find their rhythm initially.

But it was City who settled the quicker, Regan Slater blasting a decent opening into the side-netting shortly after coming on as a 58th-minute substitute.

Wigan briefly threatened and Magennis had to divert a well-struck Evans shot over his own cross-bar before Curtis Tilt lashed high and wide from the resulting corner.

The match was then ended as a contest in the 66th minute when a right-wing Tigers corner was cleared only as far as Slater, who hung up a deep cross for Wilks to nod across goal to Magennis, who applied the finishing touch.

The latter stages saw Wigan stopper Jones forced into routine saves by Gavin Whyte and then Wilks, though Hull had already done enough to extinguish the horrific memories of last season's traumatic relegation.

Hull City: Ingram; Coyle, Jones, Greaves, Elder; Honeyman (Crowley 79), Smallwood (Slater 58), Docherty; Wilks (Eaves 79), Magennis (Whyte 67), Lewis-Potter. Unused substitutes: Long, Burke, Emmanuel.

Wigan Athletic: Jones; Darikwa, Tilt, Johnston, Robinson; L.Evans, Ojo (Clough 84); Lang (Gardner 80), Keane (Aasgaard 80), Solomon-Otabor (Joseph 76); Dodoo (Proctor 84). Unused substitutes: O.Evans, Whelan.

Referee: R Madley (West Yorkshire).