Latics moved up to third in the Championship table with a deserved 1-0 victory against the Robins at the DW Stadium last night.
In a closely fought encounter neither team had gained the upper hand until Nick Powell’s perfectly placed header in the 52nd minute made the difference.
Famara Diedhiou had a late opportunity to draw the Robins level but his header from close range was easily saved by Christian Walton.
The Robins are expected to be amongst promotion challengers but it was newly promoted Latics who looked the better side on the night and remain unbeaten at home since March.
Latics made one change to the starting line-up from Tuesday night’s victory against Hull City with Joe Garner replacing the injured Will Grigg upfront.
The Robins had an early chance when Andreas Weimann picked up a poor back pass by Antonee Robinson but Cedric Kipre made a superb intervention to deny the in-form striker.
Latics gradually took control of proceedings and were denied a penalty in the 22nd minute when Michael Jacobs was upended in the box and referee Oliver Langford turned away the appeals.
Jacobs then went close with a powerful drive from 25-yards which just cleared the crossbar.
Powell might have given Latics the lead a few minutes later when he fired wide of the target from the edge of the area. The ever dangerous midfielder then dispossessed a Robins defender by the dead ball line and put in a low cross but agonizingly no Latics player could make the vital contact.
The Robins forced three consecutive corners just before half-time but Latics’ defence stood firm and the teams remained level at the interval.
Latics started the second-half strongly and Josh Windass nearly gave them the lead but his flicked header just cleared the crossbar from Reece James’ free-kick.
Windass was in the thick of the action and his superb pinpoint cross allowed Powell to produce a sublime headed finish past Niki Maenpaa.
The former Glasgow Rangers striker then fired wide of the target as Latics went in search of a second goal. Sam Morsy got forward soon afterwards and fired another effort high over Maenpaa’s crossbar.
The Latics captain was back to his best producing a Man of the match performance in midfield harrowing his opponents, winning the ball and setting up attacks.
Despite Latics’ dominance they couldn’t add a second goal and they had to defend resolutely in the remaining minutes of the game with Cedric Kipre and Chey Dunkley once again outstanding in the centre of defence.
Diedhiou had a late chance to draw the Robins level with a header but it would have been an injustice if they had drawn level.
Overall Latics had been the better team and created the better chances. I had expected more from the Robins who had set up with a 4-4-2 formation but they looked unconvincing going forward.
After three games in six days Latics now have a week to recuperate and allow some of their star players to recover from injury. It’s been a remarkably good start to the campaign for Paul Cook’s men and all the signs are that they are in for a successful season in the Championship.