Michael Skubala admitted his play-off chasing Lincoln side were “distraught” after losing 2-1 to Wigan.

The Imps had three goals disallowed as their impressive 16-game unbeaten run, which stretched back to New Year’s Day, was ended by Latics at Sincil Bank.

Jonny Smith opened the scoring before Daniel Mandroiu levelled the scoring.

But Charlie Hughes’ stoppage-time strike was a dagger into Imps’ hearts in their play-off chase.

They are now five points behind Oxford ahead of a massive clash at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night.

“We’re gutted,” said Skubala. “We’re gutted because we know we wanted to keep trying to win.

“We wanted to throw everything at them. We started really slowly. We got into the ascendancy but we couldn’t get that second goal.

“These lads give everything. There’s nothing prouder than this run. We’re creaking a little bit because we haven’t got the numbers really.

“We had somebody come and give us the Peterborough score, so we decided to give it everything. We were happy to risk it to try and get another goal.

“We’ve been hurt because we’re trying to risk it to try and win the game.

“We’re gutted. The lads are distraught, but there are nine points to play for so we’ll go to Oxford and give it everything.

“We didn’t start like ourselves. We were nervous, we were tentative. Last 20 minutes we were ourselves and aggressive.

“It was the first time I’ve seen some nerves in the group. But it’s new to us. It’s understandable.”

Latics secured a first win in five to throw a spanner in the works of Lincoln’s play-off bid, and boss Shaun Maloney said: “It was a brilliant performance, in different ways as well.

“The first 30 minutes was as high a level as we’ve shown in a game this season.

“The first goal that we scored was top class. When you watch that first goal and the talent in that move it was a real joy to watch.

“I’m trying to build this team back up. I’ve been really honest with the team. The level did drop at Blackpool, but after that we’ve been top class.

“When we had to put bodies on the line, they did it. They went to the death and there were a few players really having to dig deep there at the end.

“The first goal was started by Charlie and was an amazing start of play and with any sort of strike he’s so clean when he hits the ball.

“I really challenged the players. With the season, we’ve achieved what we will achieve, but you still want to win, so I’m really pleased.”

Play-off chasing Lincoln saw their 16-game unbeaten run ended by Charlie Hughes’ last-gasp winner as Wigan claimed a 2-1 victory at the LNER Stadium.

The Imps looked well-placed to extend their impressive run even further having battled back from a goal behind.

Jonny Smith fired Latics into a welcome 20th-minute lead with his first goal since New Year’s Day. The midfielder’s sweet strike took a slight deflection as it flew into the bottom corner.

But Daniel Mandroiu levelled for the Imps five minutes before the break with a fine finish.

It was the Irish midfielder’s first goal for nearly two months but it could not have come at a better time as the hosts found a way back into the contest.

Smith had an early effort saved, while at the other end Hughes rifled a right-foot shot just wide.

Thelo Aasgaard turned provider for Smith to open the scoring, before Mandroiu had a powerful shot saved.

Ben House went close before Mandriou levelled and leading scorer Joe Taylor had a header saved on the stroke of half-time.

Jason Kerr headed wide for Latics and Tom Pearce blasted over, but Hughes’ stunning last-gasp volley saw the visitors take the points.

Charlton boss Nathan Jones was disappointed with his side’s defensive work in Tuesday night’s 2-2 League One draw with Wigan.

The Addicks had gone ahead in the 20th minute when Wigan captain Charlie Hughes sliced a long ball from Macaulay Gillesphey into his own net.

But Charlton’s soft underbelly was on show again just after the hour mark, when two goals in four minutes from Charlie Kelman turned the game around.

Chuks Aneke was able to rescue a point, but only Carlisle have fewer League One clean sheets than Charlton.

“This team hasn’t kept many clean sheets,” he said. “There’s been three managers now and no one’s kept clean sheets, me included.

“That’s something that we need to address and we’ve got to be better at because I don’t want us to have to score three goals at home to win a football game,” he continued.

“It’s either work or personnel. We’ll do lots of work and if the work doesn’t do it then we’ll change personnel.”

The Charlton boss was also disappointed with his team’s finishing.

“We created enough to have punished them tonight,” he said. “If that’s 4-2 or 5-2 then no one’s moaning, no one’s saying ‘we’ve got lucky there’.

“We’ve had 20 shots tonight. We’ve had double their shots, double their shots on target. It shows that we’ve had a right go tonight. The fans want three points but they’ve seen a team that’s proper front-footed tonight.

“But when you don’t put them away, then it’s a 2-2 game – and that wasn’t a 2-2 game.”

Shaun Maloney could have been forgiven for having his mind on other matters, given that his wife gave birth to their daughter on Monday.

“I just about made it here today, so it wasn’t the normal preparation,” said the Wigan manager.

“We knew this was obviously coming at some point and I thought the staff did a really good job today and yesterday. All of them.

“I just want to thank the senior players. They really stepped up today.”

It was a spirited performance from the Latics, who had to suffer but came out with a point. Maloney was pleased with the second half in particular.

“We were under real big pressure,” he said. “We’re 1-0 down, the first five minutes were really difficult. To then play the way that we did, I really liked.”

Maloney was full of praise for the man who turned the game around.

He added: “He’s had to be patient, Charlie. It’s tough. I’m a really big fan of his.

“I think there’s loads more to come. Physically, in the first two or three weeks he got up to speed. I just really like his movement. I love him out of possession. He knows what I think of him.

“Tonight was really big for him.”

Charlton extended their unbeaten run to 12 games as they celebrated their longest streak in nearly 13 years with a 2-2 League One draw against Wigan.

In the 20th minute, Alfie May pressed for an opener and he caused Wigan captain Charlie Hughes to slice a clearance up and over goalkeeper Sam Tickle and into his own net.

Wigan had been second best but turned the game on its head just after the hour mark. First – in the 62nd minute – Charlie Kelman touched home to equalise after on-loan Fulham winger Martial Godo’s deflected shot fell his way.

Four minutes later, Kelman completed his brace via a close-range shot which deflected off Macaulay Gillesphey.

But 11 minutes from time, Charlton hit back through substitute Chuks Aneke, who headed home from a George Dobson cross.

It is now just one victory in six for the Latics, who have not won away from home in nearly two months.

Charlton, meanwhile, look a different side under Nathan Jones and moved up to 14th as a result.

Darren Moore felt his Port Vale side “could and should have taken maximum points” at Wigan after the sides shared the spoils in a Sky Bet League One 0-0 stalemate.

Wigan’s Martial Godo came closest to breaking the deadlock, only to fire against a post in the second half.

At the other end, Wigan were indebted to England Under-21 goalkeeper Sam Tickle for pulling off, in the words of Moore, “an outstanding double save” to deny James Plant and Baylee Dipepa.

The point lifts Vale out of the relegation zone, and Moore says that will give them a “psychological boost” for their last five games of the campaign.

“It’s a good day for us at Port Vale, getting the clean sheet and how valuable that point is in terms of the psychological boost of getting out of that bottom four,” he said.

“While we’ll take that today, we know the work isn’t nearly finished, it’s only given us a platform.

“And we have to continue to perform, keep that togetherness, and keep that unity going forward.

“As a group we certainly feel we could and should have taken maximum points, but their goalkeeper has pulled off an outstanding double save.

“The first one, he was going the other way, and then he gets up and makes another save.

“Credit to him for earning them a point, but I just thought both teams were at it, both teams were pressing on, and it was a good footballing match.

“We pressed them high up the pitch, and I liked the way we played on them, and forced errors, which we should have capitalised more on.

“Overall it was a solid performance, and you’re always happy with a clean sheet away from home.”

For Wigan boss Shaun Maloney, it was a third game in a row where his side have failed to beat a relegation-threatened side, after a home draw with Burton and a defeat at Cambridge.

“It wasn’t too bad, it was just OK,” he said. “I know it finished 0-0, but both teams had chances.

“The first 20 minutes was OK, but for the next 25 minutes we became a bit toothless really.

“The second half was a bit better, we had chances to score, as did they…the overall performance was just OK.

“In terms of effort and the mentality of the players – something I really challenged the players on – I couldn’t ask for any more.

“Port Vale are desperate for points, and they went very aggressive during parts of the game.

“When that happens, you have to use the forward passes enough, we just didn’t recognise when to play the forward pass.

“I liked the way the three centre-backs (Charlie Hughes, Charlie Goode and Jason Kerr) played, the forwards they have are good players and I never felt in massive, massive danger from open play.

“Sam Tickle has also made an amazing double save, and he’s just a brilliant player.

“I say it every week, but there always seems to be a moment where Sam influences the result, and that was the case again.

“Those four players were the stand-outs for me.”

Port Vale moved out of the Sky Bet League One drop zone thanks to a goalless draw at Wigan.

The home side came close to scoring with their first attack, as Matt Smith’s shot took a huge deflection off Thelo Aasgaard, completely wrong-footing Connor Ripley, only for the ball to sail inches past a post.

Former Wigan man Gavin Massey then had a great chance to mark his return to the DW Stadium with a goal, only to be thwarted by England Under-21 stopper Sam Tickle.

Smith’s deliveries were causing concern for Ripley, who had to act smartly to take the ball off Aasgaard’s feet, before tipping another cross round a post.

Martial Godo hit a post as Wigan pushed further, with substitute Charlie Kelman unable to force home the rebound.

But Vale finished the stronger and almost nicked it in the closing stages.

Tom Sang headed wide from an unmarked position, before Tickle parried out a deflected shot from James Plant, and did even better to divert the rebound from Baylee Dipepa past a post.

Burton manager Martin Paterson has confidence his side can avoid relegation from League One after taking encouragement from their performance in a 1-1 draw at Wigan.

The Brewers responded well to falling behind to a bizarre Sam Hughes own goal just before half-time and they levelled nine minutes into the second half through John Brayford.

Both sides hit the woodwork – Burton through Joe Hugill and Wigan through Thelo Aasgaard – as honours ended even, leaving Burton one point and one place above the drop zone.

“It was a great point for us, and you could argue we had enough chances to win the game in the second half,” Paterson said.

“It was a crazy goal we conceded, and we did well to react from that. We gave them a goal but we showed great character in the group.

“To come to Wigan and put in a performance like that, I’m looking forward to the next six games.

“We were the better team in the second half, we kept playing, we kept fighting, and I’m confident we will achieve the remit of staying in the division.

“The challenge now is to pick up the results that the performances deserve, because I actually think we deserved to win that game.”

Paterson also played a straight bat when asked about an incident directly after the full-time whistle, when he restrained Hughes, who appeared to be on his way into the away end to confront a Burton fan.

“I don’t want to comment on anything that happened,” he said.

“All I will say is that I make sure my players remain safe at all times.”

Wigan boss Shaun Maloney was not happy with the majority of his side’s performance.

“I liked the last 15-20 minutes,” said Maloney. “The first 70 minutes, I didn’t like.

“I didn’t like the performance, I didn’t like the feeling I got from my team, we just sort of drifted through the first three-quarters of the game.

“I said before the game that Burton were very well organised, they’re hard to break down, and they’re fighting for their lives.

“And there were a few things that happened that make me think we were probably lucky not to lose that game.
“They also hit the post, and every set-play caused us problems.

“I know we hit the bar and we had some good chances at the end but, for large parts of the game, I didn’t like how we played.”

St Helens head coach Paul Wellens insists there is no need for hype when world champions Wigan roll into town on Good Friday for a clash that could go some way towards shaping the new Betfred Super League season.

The sport’s biggest domestic showdown throws up plenty of added interest with the visitors eager to stretch an unbeaten start that includes emulating Saints’ World Club Challenge win over NRL champions Penrith.

Apart from a surprise home defeat to Salford, Saints have also reverted to their unfamiliar role as challengers with aplomb, and two successive wins over Leeds at Headingley has set them up well for a game in which a victory will shift the narrative of the campaign so far.

Having faced off with his side’s biggest rivals more than 50 times in his stellar career as a player, Wellens does not need reminding of the magnitude of a fixture which will once again have the ‘sold out’ signs hanging outside the Totally Wicked Stadium.

“It’s Wigan on Good Friday – it sells itself,” said Wellens.

“Fans and players can’t wait for the game to come around. It’s the fixture you draw a circle around at the start of every year, and we are always excited about the challenge.

“It’s two teams who have achieved a lot of success in recent history, and a lot of that comes from knowing how to handle big games and big moments, and how to channel your emotion in the right way.

“This is the big game in British rugby league. We have Grand Finals and Challenge Cup finals, but after those showpiece occasions, I think Saints against Wigan on Good Friday is the game everyone wants to watch.”

Wellens hopes key men Tommy Makinson and Lewis Dodd will be fit to return from recent injuries, while Mark Percival is also available after suspension. However in-form forward James Bell is banned.

Wigan, whose superb start to the season fell a little flat last Friday when they were forced to fight to see off determined Championship side Sheffield Eagles in the last 16 of the Challenge Cup, hope to welcome back Willie Isa and influential full-back Jai Field.

Warriors head coach Matt Peet may not be able to match his Saints counterpart in terms of a top-level playing career, but having battled his way through his club’s coaching ranks he too knows only too well what the match means to each local community.

“It’s a completely unique game,” said Peet.

“Rugby league fans understand it, people in the two towns understand it. Whether the teams are flying high or having indifferent seasons, it sells itself because of the history behind it.

“It’s about striking a balance between the two. You can’t shy away from the emotion of it, but you’ve got to get the rugby side right.

“I think a lot of the motivation is already there. You don’t have to remind the players that it’s a fantastic fixture.

“Both teams are used to playing in these kinds of games. The players know how to handle it, and they can put it to the back of their minds and play their best game.”

Neil Critchley felt his Blackpool side deserved a point at Wigan after suffering a 1-0 defeat that dented their Sky Bet League One play-off aspirations.

An away win would have seen Blackpool climb to sixth in the table on goal difference ahead of the international break.

But Scott Smith’s 26th-minute goal – his first in senior football – proved to be the difference at the DW Stadium, as Wigan climbed to the 50-point mark.

Blackpool had chances to go home with a point, but England Under-21 goalkeeper Sam Tickle denied Shayne Lavery in the first half, before Wigan Academy product Kyle Joseph headed just wide for the visitors after the break.

“Yes, it was a fine line today, and we knew it was going to be like that,” said Critchley. “Looking at some of their recent results, most of them have been low-scoring games, and we knew the first goal would be decisive.

“They got it, from a really great cross but, from our point of view, a poor goal to concede.

“In the second half we were by far the more dominant team, we pinned them back, and it’s not easy to break down 11 men, but we created some decent chances.

“When you do that, you have to take one of them, and we couldn’t do that.

“You’re not going to come here and dominate for 90 minutes, they’re a good team with some good players.

“They play a really good brand of possession football, they overload the middle of the pitch, and they make it really difficult for you.

“I’ve watched a lot of them this season, and they cause a lot of teams a lot of problems with how they play.

“But there was nothing in the game…they got the first goal, and we dominated the second half.

“Overall I thought we deserved to get a point from the game, but it wasn’t to be.”

Wigan boss Shaun Maloney said: “It was two very different halves.

“Blackpool are one of the better teams in the league without the ball, and when you don’t get your build-up play right, they can quickly create chances.

“I really enjoyed the first half, but the second half was the complete opposite.

“We had to defend, and they had a couple of good chances, one a header and one that hit the side-netting.

“But I get just as much pleasure from watching that second-half performance as the first half.

“In the first half, we went very aggressive with the line-up, but we had to play under great pressure – and we did.

“Blackpool are a very good side, they’re going for the play-offs, and the more attacking they went in the second half, the more we had to defend.

“We’ve had to rely on Sam Tickle a lot in these kinds of matches, but I thought we defended pretty well.

“We gave up two chances in that second half, but in other matches we’ve given up a few more.

“In that sense, it was pleasing that we restricted them to that number of chances.”

Scott Smith’s first goal in senior football was enough to send Wigan into the top half of Sky Bet League One thanks to a 1-0 victory over play-off chasing Blackpool.

After a keenly contested opening 20 minutes, Wigan came closer to opening the scoring when Jordan Jones’ left-wing cross was headed just wide by Thelo Aasgaard.

But the home side did hit the front after 26 minutes, with Jones again crossing from the left and this time 23-year-old Smith popping up from right wing-back to force the ball over the line.

Blackpool’s immediate attempts at a leveller were foiled when George Byers’ shot was comfortably saved by Sam Tickle, who then made a brilliant stop to deny substitute Shayne Lavery – who had replaced the injured Jordan Rhodes.

The visitors showed they had not given up the fight early in the second half when Matt Pennington went right through the back of Stephen Humphrys, only to escape with a yellow card.

Indeed, Wigan boss Shaun Maloney was so angered he was shown a yellow card by referee James Linington.

Blackpool sent on Kyle Joseph in search of an equaliser, and the Wigan Academy graduate almost found a leveller when he nodded a deep cross just wide of the far post.

Wycombe manager Matt Bloomfield saw his faith in Franco Ravizzoli repaid in his side’s 1-0 victory over Wigan in what turned out to be a tale of two goalkeepers.

A mid-table clash in Sky Bet League One was decided by an own goal from Sam Tickle, who has been enjoying a successful first season as Latics’ first choice.

His opposite number, Ravizzoli, then made sure the Chairboys won for the third time in four games with three fine saves in stoppage time.

The Argentinian was preferred to Max Stryjek despite his availability after suspension, and Bloomfield said: “I feel like my words to the players are ‘if you’re in possession (of your place) and you perform well, then you deserve to stay in’.

“So I had an opportunity tonight to back up my words with my actions and I felt like it was the right thing to do.

“Franco was fantastic on Saturday at Reading, he really helped us get the victory and there was no way he deserved to be left out tonight.

“Maxie was fully respectful of that, he’s obviously been fantastic for us this season and last season as well, but as with anything in sport you respect when someone’s performed well.

“He’s backed him up well tonight and he’s really played his part, as have all the squad. I thought Franco was excellent.

“I have to be really pleased with the resilience – I think it was a very ‘Wycombe’ defensive display.”

The home side’s winner came after 19 minutes when Josh Scowen’s mishit low cross was fumbled into his own net by Tickle at his near post.

Wigan grew stronger the longer the match wore on but were frustrated three times at the death as Ravizzoli denied Thelo Aasgaard, Charlie Hughes and Jordan Jones.

Latics boss Shaun Maloney said: “Second half we did everything but score, I can’t fault the players in the second half.

“I’m sorry for the fans that I can’t give them at least something to head back with.

“I think they could see the players’ performance and the team’s performance, but the first half cost us.

“The second half was excellent, really good, that’s how I want a Wigan team to play.

“The first half was opposite: everything was slow, everything was comfortable.

“It was a big mistake from our goalkeeper but Sam’s been incredible this season. I’ve said this numerous times, so that’s just an incident that can happen.

“Our general play was really poor, I was really unhappy at half-time, but the players that came on were excellent.

“It’s difficult to sit there after the game with how we played second half and not win the game, but also understand it was the first half that cost us.”

An own goal by Wigan goalkeeper Sam Tickle decided a low-key encounter as Wycombe claimed a 1-0 win at Adams Park.

The game may not live long in the memory, but the Chairboys celebrated a third win in four games that moved them level on points with their visitors.

Wycombe were gifted the lead after 19 minutes when Josh Scowen’s mishit low cross from the right was fumbled into his own net by Tickle at his near post.

The Chairboys almost doubled their advantage in the second minute of the second half as Beryly Lubala headed a peach of a free-kick from Luke Leahy just wide.

Wigan improved and pressed hard for an equaliser, with Thelo Aasgaard and Charlie Kelman both sending presentable headed chances off-target.

The closest Latics came to snatching a point was in the first minute of stoppage time when Jordan Jones teed up Aasgaard, whose header was brilliantly saved by Franco Ravizzoli.

Boss Shaun Maloney admitted Jason Kerr’s late header against 10-man Leyton Orient secured a ‘really important win’ for Wigan.

The Scottish centre-back had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds when he headed home a cross from Jonny Smith – who had also come on in the same substitution – to break the deadlock at the DW Stadium.

The O’s had played the majority of the game with 10 men after Ethan Galbraith was shown a second yellow card on 42 minutes after two fouls in the space of 13 minutes on his Northern Ireland international colleague Jordan Jones.

After that it was pretty much attack against defence, with Kerr giving Wigan a victory they undoubtedly deserved.

“It was a really important win,” acknowledged Maloney. “The game obviously completely changed on the red card.

“Leyton Orient were good at times in the first half, we were okay. At times we were really creative, at other times we weren’t at our fluent best.

“The only positive from that was when Leyton Orient had possession I never felt like they were creating big opportunities to score.

“The second half was all about trying to stay patient, understand how we were going to break them down.

“They went straight to a five and a four and it isn’t easy trying to break down 10 men.

“It was hard for the players and every substitution we made was to become even more attacking.

“But I thought the players were really good because it certainly wasn’t easy for them.

“As you can see the winner came from a short corner and sometimes you need set-plays like that to get over the line.”

Orient manager Richie Wellens was pleased with what he saw, having had ‘no complaints’ about the match-changing decision.

“I can’t really remember the first (yellow) but I’ve got no complaints about the second one, his foot was high and it was a fair booking,” he said.

“Until the sending off we dominated the game.

“It was too easy for us, the only threat they had was when we lost the ball in the middle of the pitch and they countered on us.

“I’m very proud of the team – to come to this stadium against a club that win the league whenever they are in League One.

“Wigan should be right at the top end of this division so to come here with really young players and play the way we did was excellent.

“It was comfortable for us at the back, I didn’t think they caused us any problems until they made a good substitution, taking (Charlie) Goode off and bringing on someone who was better on the ball at the back, which caused us problems.

“But we’ve been done by a set-play and we’ve got to be better with that.

“After that, they managed the game well, the referee allowed them to slow the game down, waste time, which you expect the opposition to do in that position.”

Substitute Jason Kerr scored with his first touch to give Wigan a narrow but well-deserved 1-0 victory over 10-man Leyton Orient at the DW Stadium.

Wigan had an early let-off when a weak header from Luke Chambers presented the ball to Darren Pratley, who fired wide from the edge of the box.

But only a desperate header off the line prevented Wigan going ahead after a deep corner from Chambers was headed back in by Charlie Hughes.

Wigan should have hit the front when Callum McManaman fed Josh Magennis, who shot wide from eight yards.

But the game completely changed three minutes before half-time when Orient’s Ethan Galbraith picked up his second yellow card in the space of 13 minutes – both for fouls on his Northern Ireland international colleague Jordan Jones.

From then on it was attack versus defence, with McManaman shooting just wide of the target at the beginning of the second period before substitute Charlie Kelman somehow headed wide from eight yards against his old club.

But Wigan finally got their breakthrough 17 minutes from time when Jonny Smith crossed for Kerr to head home – both of their first touches after coming off the bench.

Fleetwood boss Charlie Adam was beaming with pride after a vital 4-2 victory over Lancashire rivals Wigan.

Bosun Lawal, on loan from Celtic, twice pulled Town level in the first half to cancel out goals from Stephen Humphrey and Thelo Aasgaard.

And further strikes from Gavin Kilkenny and Jayden Stockley, within seven second-half minutes, put the result beyond doubt to give Fleetwood’s survival hopes a welcome boost.

Adam said: “It’s the performance I’m happy with. We took the second-half performance from midweek at Port Vale to today. I thought the lads were magnificent, we dominated the ball and caused them real problems.

“We showed real character and that’s what we are going to need. At times the quality of play was really good.”

However, the 38-year-old was keen to remind everyone that consistency is key after the Cod Army’s first win in their last six games.

“Ultimately, it’s only three points and we don’t want to get too high on it, we go again next week,” Adam said.

“We are happy with the result but now it’s about getting that performance on a consistent basis. I want this club to expect to win football matches.

“Getting used to winning football matches is a good habit to have and this group of players are smelling that the performances are good and they are getting the results the performances deserve.”

A deflated Shaun Maloney defended his Wigan players despite their disappointing performance on the Fylde coast.

The Latics looked to be building momentum in the league after their midweek victory over Bolton but succumbed to the intensity of the hosts.

Maloney said: “Look, I can’t really criticise any of my players too much after what they gave me on Tuesday.

“But the levels were definitely lower today in some really key moments; when a tackle had to be made, when we had to defend our box, blocking shots, when we had to spring back.

“We spoke after the Bolton game, and some of our players, about a real desire and determination to win that game.

“Our levels didn’t live up to that game, although I can’t criticise the mentality.

“They gave me absolutely everything again today. It’s just in those key moments, our intensity wasn’t the same as it was in midweek.

“I was concerned before the game whether we could go again, that was my worry, that’s why I made the changes I did.

“I have to give Fleetwood lots of credit, they were better than us at the fundamental things and that’s why they won the game.”

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