Days Gone By | Wigan Athletic vs. Cardiff City
As the Bluebirds prepare for a trip to Wigan Athletic on Saturday afternoon, we take a look back at our first-ever home and away victories against the Latics in years gone by.
City played host to Wigan Athletic at Ninian Park, formerly the home of the Bluebirds, for the very first time on September 11th, 1982, in a memorable era for the City faithful.
Under the guidance of Len Ashurst, the Third Division’s best home record enabled the Bluebirds to achieve their first ever victory over the Latics at the first time of asking, as well as earning a second-placed finish, gaining promotion back to the Second Division after just one season away in 1983.
Their haul of 25 wins – 17 of them at home – was the club’s best since 1947, and the total of 86 points remained an all-time club record until our promotion winning side of 2012/13 broke the record with a total of 87 points. This was to be broken once again, four seasons later, when City secured promotion back to the Premier League for a second time, finishing runners-up with 90 points.
In a thrilling contest, goals from John Lewis, Gary Bennett and an own goal from defender Billy Woof were enough to secure a historic victory for Ashurst’s side.
After signing star players like Roger Gibbins from Cambridge United, Paul Bodin from Newport County and Jeff Hemmerman from Portsmouth, the Bluebirds flew to second place in Division Three, sparking glorious scenes as they secured promotion against Leyton Orient at Ninian Park on May 7, 1983.
Striker Hemmerman finished the season as the club’s top goal scorer with 26 goals, while local boys Phil Dwyer (pictured below) and Paul Giles caught the eye alongside talented brothers Dave and Gary Bennett.
The 1982/83 campaign was most remembered for the Bluebirds’ 3-2 home victory over local rivals, Newport County, which saw a record crowd of 15,972 attend the clash at Ninian Park.
City’s first-ever away victory against Wigan came all the way back on 31st March 1997, in the club’s 70th successive season in the English Football League.
The Bluebirds went into the fixture at Wigan having won two of their previous five league games, including a 1–0 South Wales derby victory over Swansea City, and a 3-1 away victory over Mansfield Town four weeks prior.
In front of 6,634 spectators, the Bluebirds managed to seal their famous win against the Latics ending a 15-year hoodoo, with Simon Haworth netting the match-winning goal for City in a narrow contest.
During his three-year spell in the Welsh capital, Haworth would make 35 appearances in total for the Bluebirds before joining Coventry City in a deal worth £500,000 in 1997. He would later join the Latics.
Having gone through two managerial departures during that season, City managed to secure a play-off place, having earned a 7th place finish, accumulating a total of 69 points.
Despite the eventual disappointment of falling to a narrow 4-2 aggregate defeat to Northampton Town in the Play-Off Semi-Finals, the Bluebirds’ victory over Wigan Athletic was a real highlight during a memorable campaign.
With this weekend marking the 30th competitive meeting between both clubs, Wigan hold the edge in terms of wins, besting the Bluebirds with 12 victories, to our 6. This match has also finished as a draw on 11 occasions. Two of Wigan’s triumphs have come in recent seasons, with two draws also taking place since our last victory at DW Stadium back in 2015.