Wigan maintained their unbeaten home record with an important victory over Huddersfield Town. Goals from Leon Barnett and Nick Powell enabled the Latics to move up to 10th in the Championship table, with a game in hand on most of their rivals.
Wigan took the lead in the 21st minute when Ben Watson’s corner was headed home by Barnett.
The Terriers equalised just before half-time when Oliver Norwood’s shot deflected in off Ryan Shotton.
But early in the second half the home team restored their lead after some sloppy defending by Town enabled Jordi Gomez to feed Powell who fired home the crucial goal.
Owen Coyle continues to shuffle his starting line ups and made two changes from the team that drew 0-0 with Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday as Marc-Antoine Fortune replaced Grant Holt and Ben Watson came in for James McArthur.
Town were in buoyant mood after a confidence boosting win over local rivals Leeds United, but leading goalscorer James Vaughan had to sit out the game due to suspension.
Wigan started more positively than in recent fixtures and could have scored on two minutes when Marc-Antoine Fortune blasted over the crossbar after good work by Powell.
On loan striker Powell missed another decent opportunity before the improving Chris McCann saw a long range effort tipped over by Smithies.
But Wigan took the lead from the resulting corner as Watson’s cross was headed home by centre back Barnett.
Keith Southern might have equalised for the Terriers soon afterwards when his deflected shot flew past Lee Nicholls post, but they did equalise just before half-time when Norwood’s shot deflected off Shotton into the Wigan net.
Coyle’s half time team talk must have roused his troops and Latics started the second period the stronger, with Fortune hitting the post in the opening two minutes.
They kept up their pressure and in the 50th minutes Powell put his side in front. The on-loan Manchester United man making the most of an opportunity gifted when Clarke’s pass was initially blocked by Jordi Gomez.
The next part of the second period was perhaps most notable for Adam Hammill’s embrassing temper tantrums when substituted by Sean Scannell. The former Wolves winger’s antics clearly upset manager Mark Robins who will no doubt fine the player for his childish behaviour.
Substitute Scannell made an instant impact and crossed the ball for Danny Ward who brought an excellent save from the young keeper Nicholls.
Aston Villa loanee Marc Albrighton replaced Jordi Gomez and later Marc-Antoine Fortune was replaced by Grant Holt and James McClean took over from Callum McManaman.
But Nick Powell remained the game’s best player, the 19 year old showed great quality and commitment in his man of the match performance. The former Crewe Alexandra player has now scored five goals in all competitions and looks likely to go onto score many more for Wigan in the future.
It was hard won victory against a side who should finish comfortably in mid table. The three points takes Latics within striking distance of the play off places, but they now have to move onto the Europa Cup and Rubin Kazan on Thursday night. A point in Russia would put the team in a good position to qualify for the Round of 32.