Patrick Bamford’s deflected 20th minute goal was the difference between promotion chasing Middlesbrough and relegation threatened Wigan at the Riverside Stadium on Good Friday.
In an evenly fought encounter both teams had chances to win it, but it was Boro who moved to the top of the Championship table. Latics remain deep in the relegation zone, five points behind Rotherham United who are fourth bottom.
Malky Mackay made one change to his starting line up from the draw against Bolton Wanderers with James McClean returning from suspension in place of Marc-Antoine Fortune.
The Boro goal came courtesy of a counter attack when Albert Adomah broke away. The ball came to Patrick Bamford and the on loan Chelsea striker’s effort from the edge of the area unfortunately hit Harry Maguire before evading Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi.
Bamford was Boro’s biggest goal threat and he nearly added a second but Al Habsi was at his best to save the striker’s curling effort.
Latics struggled to pose a major attacking threat in the first half but the introduction of Marc-Antoine Fortune at the start of the second helped galvanise them going forward. Fortune drew a good save low down from Dimi Konstantopoulos on 62 minutes.
Later James McClean had Wigan’s best opportunity to equalise but he somehow miscued his volley with the goal at his mercy.
Latics desperately pushed for the equaliser but Boro stayed resolute. William Kvist put in a couple of his long throws causing consternation in the host’s defence but the danger was somehow cleared.
In the dying minutes Latics threw everything forward in an attempt to get the elusive equaliser, but it was not to be. Wigan remain five points from safety with six games to save their Championship status.