Wigan Athletic produced one of their best performances of the season to defeat Championship title favourites West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at the DW Stadium.
The Baggies had been in free-scoring form and unbeaten in seven-games prior to kick-off but Latics were in determined mood and soon blunted their opponents offensive ambitions before going on to dominate.
Former Rangers striker Josh Windass scored the vital winner on 74 minutes but it could so easily have been several more if it were not for keeper Sam Johnstone and some profligate finishing.
Latics are in the throes of an injury crisis and are without the strike force that was so successful in League One, with Will Grigg, Michael Jacobs and Gavin Massey all unavailable, so Paul Cook had to be very creative with his starting eleven. Dan Burn replaced the injured Antonee Robinson at left back and Gary Roberts, Nathan Byrne and Lee Evans all came back into the team.
The in-form Baggies started confidently and Christian Walton was forced into an early save from a Jay Rodriguez header. But Latics defended determinedly and they gradually worked their way into the game.
Windass had a great chance to give Latics the lead when he was played through by Nick Powell but his effort from close range was wide of the target.
Windass then reciprocated by crossing the ball for Powell but the former Manchester United midfielder couldn’t quite make the vital contact from inside the six-yard box.
Powell also had a looping header just clear the crossbar with Latics now well in the ascendancy.
Just before the interval Powell appeared to be brought down in the penalty area and referee Jeremy Simpson pointed to the spot, but after consulting with the linesman he changed his mind and awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area, which Powell was unable to convert.
All level at half-time, but somewhat unexpectedly Latics were looking the better team against the second-placed Baggies.
Early in the second half West Brom had an appeal for a penalty when Harvey Barnes went down in the box under a challenge by Chey Dunkley, but referee Simpson decided to give Barnes a yellow card for simulation.
Roberts then went close for Latics forcing a good save from Johnstone at his near post before Windass forced an even better save from Johnstone low down to his right.
But Latics were not to be denied and went ahead on 74 minutes when Powell got his head to Walton’s long kick and Windass cut inside Ahmed Hegazi before unleashing an unstoppable low drive into the corner of the Baggies net. It was no more than Latics deserved.
Dunkley had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 from Roberts’ cross but the big defender headed just wide.
In a hard fought match with nine bookings it was no surprise when Jake Livermore was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence on 84 minutes.
Latics were home and dry. A brilliant performance against a West Brom team who are expected to be promoted at the end of the season. They had deservedly beaten a team packed full of Premier League experience who had scored 31 goals in their previous 12 Championship games.
It had been a superb team effort but special commendations should go to the 34-year-old Roberts who was playing his first full game of the season and yet he excelled down the left hand side. Nathan Byrne and Dan Burn who have both had limited game time this season looked very comfortable in unfamiliar positions and Windass had his best game in a Latics shirt since joining in August.
The games are coming thick and fast with many difficult fixtures ahead. Millwall away on Tuesday night and second-placed Sheffield United away on Saturday, but if Latics can continue to perform like they did against West Brom they will be in for a fantastic season.