Latics suffered the disappointment of a narrow 1-0 defeat to Preston despite dominating this Lancashire derby for long periods.
Jordan Hugill’s deflected Aidan McGeady’s shot past Adam Bogdan after only seven minutes gave North End the lead.
But Latics had the better of the first half and created plenty of chances. Will Grigg went closest when he headed just over from Yanic Wildschut’s cross.
In a more even second half there were opportunities for both teams with Hugill forcing a superb one-handed save from Bogdan and Nathan Byrne hitting the post after first being denied by a good save from Chris Maxwell.
Latics had produced a spirited effort, but despite having more shots and more possession than North End, they had failed to make their dominance count. Latics remain third bottom and Preston move up to 18th in the table.
Gary Caldwell made just the one change from the 0-0 draw with Fulham, with Nathan Byrne coming in for the injured Alex Gilbey.
Latics were soon up against it as North End took an early lead. Aiden McGeady’s shot struck Hugill inside the box and the deflection wrong-footed Adam Bogdan who could do nothing to prevent the goal.
Wigan quickly responded and Michael Jacobs had an opportunity but mis-kicked his effort from inside the box, before Jordi Gomez fired over the crossbar. The best chance of the half came soon afterwards when Will Grigg headed just over the bar from Yanic Wildschut’s cross.
Latics continued to press forward and from a Max Power cross Jordi Gomez had a rare goal-bound header but it was wide of the target.
On 32 minutes Latics won a free kick on the edge of the box and Gomez’s low effort went under the wall but was saved by Maxwell.
Around the 40 minute mark a quick one-two between Gomez and Grigg, saw Gomez try his luck from outside the box with a low drive, but the ball hit the side netting.
Latics were still on top as the game moved towards half time but they had been unable to make their territorial dominance count.
The second half opened with chances at both ends. First Chris Maxwell saved Grigg’s drive before Hugill found himself in space in the box and his low shot look destined for the bottom corner but Bogdan got down superbly to turn the ball away for a corner.
Nick Powell replaced Shaun MacDonald on 52 minutes and soon afterwards David Perkins came on for Michael Jacobs.
Latics came closest to equalising on 60 minutes when Byrne was twice denied. Wildschut’s cross found him at the back post and his first effort was saved by Maxwell’s leg and his second beat the keeper but unluckily struck the post.
McGeady had a rare effort for Preston on 67 minutes but his shot was well wide of the target.
On 73 minutes Latics made their final substitution with Craig Davies replacing Byrne.
Nick Powell was having plenty of possession in midfield and making some penetrative runs forward, but on a couple of occasions his efforts from distance were well over the crossbar.
On 85 minutes Latics won a free kick 20 yards out and slightly to the right of the target. Would this be be moment that Gomez would step up and bring Latics level? Unfortunately this time the answer was No, as the Spaniard’s effort was well saved by Maxwell.
On the counter attack Pearson had a chance for Preston but his effort went wide.
Latics continued to press forward right up to the final whistle but it was to no avail as Preston held on for the precious three points.
Latics had been the dominant force for much of the game but they had lacked the quality in the final third to break through a resolute North End defence.
Wigan next face Wolves at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night and manager Gary Caldwell be looking for the right combination of players to end their winless run of seven matches and get their season back on track.