Wigan’s season continued its downward trajectory with a 3-1 home defeat to Championship leaders AFC Bournemouth.
A new look Latics line-up including Leon Clarke, Chris Herd and Kim Bo-kyung started brightly but Bournemouth gained the upper hand with what appeared to be a offside goal from Callum Wilson.
The Cherries were two ahead just before half time when Chris McCann was dispossessed on the edge of his own area and Jann Kermorgant finished clinically from 18 yards.
The points were sealed on 57 minutes when Wilson added a second, although Latics did manage a consolation goal through debutant Clarke.
Latics were struck a huge blow before kick off with the news that midfielder Emyr Huws had turned an ankle in training and would be out for the rest of the season.
Malky Mackay made four changes to the starting line up following the draw at Ipswich last week with Chris Herd, Leon Clarke, Kim Bo-Kyung and Chris McCann coming into replace James Perch, Emyr Huws, Martyn Waghorn and Marc-Antoine Fortune.
Latics started confidently and William Kvist tested Artur Boruc in the Cherries goal from the edge of the area within the first two minutes.
Clarke then fired low cross across the area but Leon Barnett was unable to capitalise.
Soon afterwards James McClean nearly got on the score sheet when his curled free kick from the right hand side evaded Boruc but crashed against the crossbar and away to safety.
Bournemouth rallied and Ali Al-Habsi produced a great save low down to deny Kermorgant.
It was now end to end stuff with both teams creating good opportunities.
Leon Clarke might have given Wigan the lead when he sprang the Bournemouth back line but he disappointingly fired wide of the target.
New signing Kim Bo-Kyung nearly broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. The South Korean international played the ball out wide to Taylor whose cross was returned to Kim and his acrobatic overhead kick just cleared Boruc’s crossbar.
But the game turned in Bournemouth’s favour on 37 minutes. A long ball was flicked on by a Bournemouth player and Wilson, who appeared to be in a offside position, was allowed to run in on goal and slot past Al-Habsi to give the Cherries the lead.
The situation got worse for Latics ten minutes later when Chris McCann tried a dragback on the edge of his own area and Kermorgant capitalised finishing expertly from 18 yards.
Leon Barnett was lucky not to concede a penalty when he appeared to man handle Wilson in the penalty area but referee Mark Haywood waved away the Bournemouth players appeals.
Latics went into the interval unlucky to be 2-0 down but knowing that it would be a tall order to pull back the deficit against the League leaders.
Bournemouth were full of confidence and now controlling possession and they might have increased their lead on 56 minutes. Wilson was proving to be a thorn in the side of the Wigan defence and when he flicked the ball over Ridgewell he looked odds on to score but he volleyed high and wide of the target.
Wilson repeated his flick over Ridgewell a minute later and the Cherries were three up as he outpaced Barnett and rounded Al Habsi to side foot home.
Latics were now in disarray and Mackay brought on new Liverpool loan signing Sheyi Ojo in a desperate attempt to get something back. Ojo looked sharp and immediately set about running at the Cherries defence.
Wigan managed to pull a goal back in the 61st minute when McClean broke down the left hand side before delivering an excellent deep cross for Clarke to finish from close range.
For a time it looked as if Wigan might retrieve something from the game after all.
Ojo’s speed and quickness of thought was now causing Bournemouth problems and when his superb curled pass set up Don Cowie down the right hand side, the Scottish midfielder’s cross found substitute Billy Mckay at the near post but Boruc managed to save low down to his left.
The home crowd noticeably got behind the team and they started to believe a comeback might be in the offing.
Liam Ridgewell had an opportunity following a corner, but his header from around the penalty spot was tipped over by Boruc.
Latics had a shout for a penalty when Mckay looked to be taken out by a Bournemouth defender but the Latics players appeals came to nothing.
Wigan continued to press and Barnett might have reduced the deficit and set up an exciting finale with sixteen minutes remaining, but the defender headed just wide of the post from Cowie’s cross.
Bournemouth held on and maintained their position at the top of the table. Latics remain deep in trouble and seven points from safety.
Bournemouth had certainly been the slicker outfit and had dominated possession but Latics had created enough chances to have gained at least a point.
The large turnover in players during the last few weeks is a big gamble for Latics but there were some promising performances from the new signings giving hope that all is not yet lost.