Last season’s defeated play-off contenders Brighton demonstrated this season’s promotion credentials with a 1-0 win at the DW Stadium.
Wigan had greater possession and the better chances but Brighton were always resilient and won the game with a rare strike from Dale Stephens on 68 minutes.
Nick Powell had the best opportunity to put Latics ahead in the first half when he headed straight at the Brighton keeper David Stockdale from close range.
Wigan had territorial dominance but they failed to make it count and they were ultimately punished by Stephens stunning finish.
Brighton move up to second in the table and Latics remain in the relegation zone.
Gary Caldwell made one change to the team which drew with Leeds, Reece Burke coming in and Nathan Byrne dropping to the bench.
Latics got off to a good start with Michael Jacobs shooting wide after six minutes.
Then on 22 minutes Nick Powell met David Perkins’ cross from eight yards out but Stockdale was able to deny him. Dan Burn followed up to get the ball across the line but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Powell limped off soon afterwards and was replaced by Nathan Byrne.
Byrne was soon in the action and was through on goal but former Latics defender Gaetan Bong made a last ditch interception to deny him.
Adam Bogdan was having a untroubled time in Latics goal but on 40 minutes he had to make a rare save to deny Sam Baldock.
The teams went into the interval level.
Latics continued to dominate possession in the second half. But they struggled to create any clear cut chances with Will Grigg often isolated and surrounded by three defenders.
Brighton made a double substitution on 60 minutes with Oliver Norwood and Anthony Knockaert making way for Dale Stephens and Jamie Murphy.
Against the run of play it was Stephens who gave Brighton the lead.
Bong crossed from the left and Skalak fed Stephens who hit an unstoppable shot past Bogdan from 25 yards. It was a huge blow and the Latics’ players heads visibly dropped.
Caldwell surprisingly replaced Grigg with Adam Le Fondre, then later introduced Craig Davies in the 75th minute for Perkins. But both Le Fondre and Davies struggled to make any impact.
Jacobs nearly forced a late equaliser but former Latic Bong was on hand to deny him.
It was a desperately disappointing afternoon for Latics as they had dominated long periods of the game against a top team, but ultimately their lack of a cutting edge had been their downfall.