Wigan edged out local rivals Bolton in an exciting end-to-end encounter at the DW Stadium on Sunday. Latics took control with a Ben Watson penalty after Matt Mills handled the ball in the area and Nick Powell doubled the lead with a superb overhead kick.
Wanderers staged a second half fight back and drew level following a Neil Danns’ header and Andre Moritz’s penalty.
But Man of the Match Callum McMamanan drove home the winner to secure Latics first win in seven games and the first under new manager Uwe Rösler.
Latics made four changes to the team that were knocked out of the Europa League at NK Maribor on Thursday night, with Grant Holt, Emmerson Boyce, Ben Watson and Ivan Ramis returning to the starting eleven.
Rösler’s new charges started strongly and pushed Wanderers back with a high tempo pressing game. McManaman in particular was posing a constant threat down the right hand side, often eluding his marker and getting in some dangerous crosses.
Wigan were awarded a penalty in the 11th minute when Grant Holt got on the end of Watson’s cross and Mills foolishly raised his hand and diverted the ball away from goal.
Referee Kevin Friend initially ignored Wigan’s appeals but then changed his mind on the advice of his assistant. Manager Rösler was too nervous to watch and turned away from the pitch, but thankfully Watson lashed the spot kick high into the top corner of the Wanderers net.
On 24 minutes Latics were two up following a superb piece of skill by Nick Powell. Chris McCann’s shot ballooned in the air and the loanee striker connected with an acrobatic bicycle kick which looped into the top corner of Andy Lonergan’s goal.
Wigan were good value for their half time lead and the new manager was visibly pleased with the opening 45 minutes work.
Bolton must have been given a rousing half time team talk by manager Dougie Freeman and pulled a goal back after only four minutes of the restart.
Scott Carson made a full length save from Moritz’s free-kick but the Brazilian midfielder put the ball back in where Danns was allowed enough space to head past the Wigan keeper.
The away team drew level in the 64th minute when they were awarded a penalty following what looked like an innocuous collision between Boyce and Lee Chung-yong. The South Korean went down holding his face but despite Boyce’s complaints the spot kick was awarded with Moritz taking the opportunity to score.
But just when it was looking like Latics might succumb to the Wanderers onslaught, McManaman slotted home from just inside the area following Boyce’s pass.
As the game progressed Wigan were noticeably tiring and it still looked like Bolton might deny them all three points but Joe Mason wasted an opportunity after good work by the impressive Moritz.
Rösler will be relieved to get his first win in charge and pleased that he’s been able to quickly get his ideas across to the players. The busy Christmas period is nearly upon us, so fitness levels and good squad rotation will be a critical factor. There is still plenty that requires improvement, but the signs are now looking very promising.