League One promotion favourites Wigan Athletic dominated Bristol Rovers and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at the DW Stadium.
Latics were on top right from the kick-off and Rovers problems were compounded on the half-hour mark when Ryan Sweeney was sent off for bringing down Michael Jacobs and Nick Powell converted the resulting free-kick.
Will Grigg made it 2-0 early in the second half, with his first goal in almost 12 months, as Latics continued to create chance after chance against the ten men.
Latics somehow failed to add to their lead and Rovers were given a lifeline on 80 minutes when Michael Jacobs was adjudged to have handled a Tom Lockyer free-kick inside the home box, but keeper Jamie Jones produced a superb save low down to his right to keep out Ellis Harrison’s penalty.
Gavin Massey added a third goal in added time but like against Charlton in mid-week it could and should have been five or six goals such was Wigan’s dominance.
Latics were unchanged from the team which was so convincing at Charlton with Will Grigg retaining his place in the starting eleven.
Grigg went close early on when he picked up a reverse pass from Powell and forced a good save from Sam Slocombe.
Ollie Clarke tried his luck from the edge of the box after 12 minutes but Jones saved comfortably. Slocombe then made another good save from Gavin Massey’s diving header following Reece James’ cross.
It was one way traffic and Powell’s long-range effort came back off Slocombe and the same player tried to capitalise but fired wide of the target.
But Latics gained a deserved lead on 30 minutes when Grigg sent Jacobs clear of Sweeney who brought him down on the edge of the area. The referee decided that Sweeney was the last man and was duly dismissed.
The mercurial Nick Powell stepped up and fired his free-kick through the defensive wall and past the despairing Slocombe.
Unfortunately for Latics Powell had to be substituted soon afterwards and is likely to miss the mid-week game against Northampton Town.
The home team continued to press forward and might have increased their lead on 39 minutes but Tom Broadbent somehow made a last ditch goal line clearance to deny Massey.
But Latics did make it 2-0 early in the second half when Grigg ended his goal drought and fired home from an acute near-post angle following Nathan Byrne’s right-wing cross.
Substitute Ivan Toney had an opportunity to add to the lead after 59 minutes but Slocombe produced another good save diving to his left.
But as Latics eased off and made substitutions, Gary Roberts replacing Will Grigg, Rovers came back into the game.
They were awarded a penalty when Michael Jacobs was adjudged to handle Tom Nichols’ free-kick but Jones pulled off a superb save low down to his left to deny Ellis Harrison.
In the fifth minute of added time Massey made it 3-0, driving into the box playing a one-two with Roberts and finishing with aplomb past Slocombe.
On this form it is surely only a matter of time before Latics make the most of all their chances and give a team a real drubbing.