Wigan Athletic extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to an impressive ten games when they defeated mid-table Watford at the DW Stadium.
Goals in each half by Jean Beausejour and Martyn Waghorn cancelled out Lewis McGugan’s opener for the visitors.
The result consolidated Latics fifth place in the play-off positions and moved them five points ahead of seventh-placed Nottingham Forest with a game in hand on most of their rivals.
Watford’s winless away run now extends to 14 matches and any hopes of a play-off place now seem to have disappeared.
Wigan started positively and pushed forward with Beausejour nearly giving them the lead on eight minutes. Jordi Gomez’s superb deft pass put the Chilean in the clear but the Watford keeper Manuel Almunia blocked his effort from only ten yards out.
Beausejour was enjoying lots of space down the left side and his deep cross to the far post nearly deceived the Hornets keeper but was tipped over at the last moment.
Ivan Ramis looked like he had given Latics a 13th minute lead following a corner, but his header was blocked on the line by the Hornets striker Troy Deeney.
James McClean should have scored soon afterwards when he met Waghorn’s pass but he drove his close range effort straight at Almunia.
Minutes later the Republic of Ireland international had another great chance when after beating his man he fired into the side-netting.
But against the run of play, it was the visitors who went ahead when McGugan’s strike from 25 yards out went through Rob Kiernan’s legs before beating Ali Al Habsi in the Latics goal.
It was not long before Wigan drew level however, as Ivan Ramis picked out Beausejour and, after Almunia had saved the Chilean’s volley, he headed home the rebound.
It was no less than Wigan deserved after dominating the opening period.
The opening ten minutes of the second-half saw Latics on top but unable to penetrate the Hornets defence, until on 56 minutes they went ahead with Waghorn grabbing his third goal in Latics colours.
The Leicester City loanee managed to control James McArthur’s low shot from 12 yards before turning quickly and angling his shot into Almunia’s bottom left-hand corner.
West Ham loanee Jack Collison made his Latics debut on sixty minutes, replacing Waghorn and proceeded to make a good start to his Latics career by showing considerable strength and commitment for the remainder of the half.
Wigan continued to create opportunities and Beausejour volleyed just wide from substitute Nick Powell’s neat flick.
Watford were always dangerous on the break and should have equalised when Ikech Anya went one-on-one with Al Habsi with five minutes remaining but the Scottish winger shot wide of the Wigan goal.
Marc-Antoine Fortune and McArthur might have increased Latics lead before the final whistle but both fired wide of the Hornets goal from good positions.
Wigan now move onto an important game at Loftus Road on Tuesday night when they face fourth place Queens Park Rangers. Another win for the Latics would see them go to within one point of the Londoners with a game in hand.