Another spirited backs to the wall defensive display wasn’t enough to save Latics from defeat at Villa Park.
Warren Joyce’s risky strategy to defend for 95 minutes was undone in the 88th minute when Jack Grealish curled a shot into the top corner from 25 yards to secure the three points for Aston Villa.
Although Villa had been on top for most of the game it looked as though Latics had ridden out the storm until Grealish’s late stunner.
Latics remain rooted in the relegation zone while Villa move up to 13th in the Championship table.
The Wigan manager made the one change from the team who started against Derby County, with Reece Burke replacing Jordi Gomez.
Latics rarely threatened in the opening half as Villa dominated possession and created several good chances.
Jordan Amavi volleyed over the crossbar from a good position on seven minutes and Jonathan Kodjia had a great opportunity when one on one with Jussi Jaaskelainen but the 41 year old keeper did exceptionally well to get a glove to the ball to deny the striker.
Jaaskelainen then made another good save in the top left corner from a header by James Chester.
Latics had a rare opportunity in the first half when Burke fired an angled shot just over the crossbar from 25 yards out.
The visitors were working very hard to close down and were disciplined but it was always going to be a risky strategy to try and defend for such long periods.
Reece Burke had to be substituted at half time after a re-occurrence of his recent injury and was replaced by Jordi Gomez.
Gomez had an early attempt at goal but far the most part it was Villa pressing and Latics defending in depth.
Latics’ only real opportunity of the second half came when the increasingly isolated Yanic Wildschut cut inside Alan Hutton and fired a rising shot just over Pierluigi Gollini’s crossbar.
Latics had defended valiantly for most of the game but it all proved to be in vain when the talented midfielder Grealish curled the ball into the top corner from 25 yards with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Joyce belatedly introduced Will Grigg and Dan Burn as twin strikers but it was all too late to have any impact and the manager’s strategy was shown to be found wanting.
The manager must surely now re-evaluate his strategy in time for Wednesday’s home game against high-flying Newcastle United.
The players had worked extremely hard at Villa Park but the reality is that Latics must change their tactics if they are to start winning games.
Latics rode their luck against Barnsley and Huddersfield but they can’t persist with a formation and tactics that have failed to gain any points against both Derby and Villa.
The Championship is a tough league and Joyce may be thinking about potentially easier fixtures coming up, but the manager must look to his forward players such as Will Grigg and Adam Le Fondre if the team are to start scoring goals and winning games.