Walton howler sends Leeds top

Wigan 1-2 Leeds: Christian Walton howler sends Marcelo Bielsa’s side back to the top of the Championship

  • Leeds overtook Norwich at the top of the Championship with a 2-1 win at Wigan
  • Christian Walton’s error gifted Kemar Roofe the winner shortly after half-time
  • The striker was left to pass the ball into an empty net as Walton missed a cross
  • Chelsea loanee Reece James’ free-kick had fired Wigan ahead on five minutes
  • Leeds wiped out that lead three minutes later thanks to Pablo Hernandez’s strike
  • It meant Wigan lost the final game of Dave Whelan’s 23-year spell as owner

The Championship’s attempts to quieten Leeds United appear as futile as Sky Sport’s bid to censor their supporters.

Marcelo Bielsa is back at the division’s summit on goal difference and the club’s fans made their displeasure with the broadcast giants aggressively audible again. 

They keep winning battles on the grass and in the stands.

Sportsmail revealed last week that Sky – who have now televised six of Leeds’ last seven games – were ‘dampening’ critical chants, yet it proved difficult at Wigan on Sunday, with a bizarre game of cat and mouse that Sky could not really emerge victorious from.

Leeds striker Kemar Roofe wheels away after scoring the winning goal against Wigan

Leeds striker Kemar Roofe wheels away after scoring the winning goal against Wigan

Wigan goalkeeper Christian Walton fumbled the ball after calling Cedric Kipre to leave it

Wigan goalkeeper Christian Walton fumbled the ball after calling Cedric Kipre to leave it

It meant Roofe had the simple task of passing the ball into the empty net to put Leeds ahead

It meant Roofe had the simple task of passing the ball into the empty net to put Leeds ahead

Reece James' first goal in a Wigan shirt gave the hosts the lead after just five minutes 

Reece James’ first goal in a Wigan shirt gave the hosts the lead after just five minutes 

That lead lasted three minutes before Pablo Hernandez pounced in the box to pull Leeds level

That lead lasted three minutes before Pablo Hernandez pounced in the box to pull Leeds level

Leeds fans travelled in numbers and their opinions on Sky Sports were clear for all to hear

Leeds fans travelled in numbers and their opinions on Sky Sports were clear for all to hear

MATCH FACTS 

Wigan: Walton, James, Kipre, Burn, Robinson, Gibson (Vaughan 85), Morsy, Byrne, Windass, Naismith (Da Silva Lopes 70), Garner (McManaman 64).

Unused subs: MacDonald, Dunkley, Jones, Lee Evans.

Goals: James 5

Bookings: McManaman 81, Morsy 90.

Leeds: Peacock-Farrell, Phillips, Jansson, Cooper, Dallas, Klich (Shackleton 90), Forshaw, Douglas, Hernandez, Roofe, Alioski.

Unused subs: Roberts, Samuel, Harrison, Blackman, Baker, Clarke.

Goals: Hernandez 8

Bookings: Hernandez 57, Douglas 89. 

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Commentators were left to apologise for bad language that they could not mute quickly enough. They should probably just admit defeat.

That is not something Wigan did easily on an afternoon when Dave Whelan and his grandson, David Sharpe, said farewell to a club the family has owned for 23 years. 

Whelan, with former manager Roberto Martinez a few seats to his right in the directors’ box, was serenaded as he passed ownership on to IEC for £22million.

The 81-year-old wandered to his seat as Wigan’s adopted tune – ‘I’m a Believer,’ by The Monkees – blared over the tannoy, his reign somehow condensed into a few seconds. 

He made his town dream and was repaid with a passionate minute’s applause of appreciation.

The day’s emotion acted as a surge for Wigan, ahead inside six minutes. Liam Cooper went through Joe Garner on the edge of the box. 

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Reece James, the teenage full back on loan from Chelsea, beat Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the flight, curling into the far corner – his first senior goal.

Leeds are a force of nature nowadays though and were level just three minutes later. 

Darron Gibson will not want to see it back, his shanked clearance meaning Bielsa’s frantic midfield could recycle possession quickly.

Within seconds Mateusz Klich found himself approaching the byline, squaring for Pablo Hernandez and they were pumping fists in front of 4,865 boisterous travellers. 

The Paraguay head coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, was here to study Bielsa’s methods and the equaliser was a perfect case study. 

Cooper – who was blooded by one challenge – and Garner carried on their spat. 

18-year-old James became the youngest scorer in the Championship so far this season 

18-year-old James became the youngest scorer in the Championship so far this season 

Hernandez's joy was clear to see as he netted his fourth goal of the season in front of their fans

Hernandez’s joy was clear to see as he netted his fourth goal of the season in front of their fans

Hernandez was a thorn in Wigan's side throughout as Leeds earned a deserved victory

Hernandez was a thorn in Wigan’s side throughout as Leeds earned a deserved victory

Marcelo Bielsa's side are above Norwich on goal difference after their eighth league victory

Marcelo Bielsa’s side are above Norwich on goal difference after their eighth league victory

It means Wigan marked the final game of Dave Whelan's 23-year stewardship with a defeat

It means Wigan marked the final game of Dave Whelan’s 23-year stewardship with a defeat

Paul Cook was livid at what he alleged were flying elbows; Pontus Jansson claimed similar and fourth official Robert Jones was contending with fury from all sides.

Cook’s ire was directed at his goalkeeper seconds after half-time though. Christian Walton, who had earlier made a terrific save to thwart Adam Forshaw, was at fault for the eventual winner. 

He called for a loose ball, collided with Cedric Kipre and Kemar Roofe obliged, rounding the keeper and passing the ball into an empty net as thousands were still heading back to their seats. Hernandez later struck the post but Leeds went top.   

  

 

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