Wigan Athletic produced a much improved performance to comfortably defeat high-flying Charlton Athletic 2-0 at the DW Stadium.
Centre-back Chey Dunkley scored from two set-pieces to give the hosts an important victory against the recently promoted Addicks.
Latics had opportunities to win by a bigger margin with Jamal Lowe and Charlie Mulgrew going close although keeper David Marshall was called upon late on deny the visitors with a superb Gordon Banks like save from Josh Cullen’s header.
Wigan move up to 19th in the Championship table while Charlton drop down to seventh.
Paul Cook’s team were unchanged from last week’s 2-2 draw at Hull City with 17-year-old starlet Joe Gelhardt remaining on the bench. The Addicks were missing top scorer Lyle Taylor due to injury.
In an even opening spell it was the Addicks who were the first to threaten as Tomer Hemed blazed an effort off target from Deji Oshilaja’s cross.
Latics responded and Lowe linked up with Kieffer Moore before driving an effort straight at Dillon Phillips in the Charlton goal.
But on 22 minutes Latics went ahead as Dunkley got in front of his markers on the edge of the six yard box to convert a Mulgrew corner.
There’s has been a marked improvement in Latics’ set-pieces since the Scottish International Mulgrew came into the team.
Darren Pratley was lucky to remain on the pitch after grappling Joe Williams around the neck but the referee didn’t even give the Charlton captain a yellow card.
The hosts might have had a penalty when the excellent Antonee Robinson ran the full length of the pitch before going down in the penalty area under the challenge of Ben Purrington, but the referee Andy Davies waved away appeals.
Charlton had a shout for a penalty when Naby Sarr appeared to be pulled back in the area by Dunkley but the referee once again waved away all appeals.
Charlton made a bright start to the second half and Dunkley made a superb block to deny Hemed before Tom Lockyer wasted a golden opportunity from the resulting corner.
Latics grew into the half and Lowe went close before Mulgrew almost scored when he was on the end of a Jacobs corner, seeing his effort unluckily strike the post.
On 70 minutes Latics consolidated their lead with another set-piece as Dunkley headed home a Jacobs corner in powerful fashion.
Charlton had late chances to reduce the deficit and Marshall produced a superb save to deny Cullen when he looked odds on to score.
But Latics held on for a deserved three points which moved them away from the relegation zone.
Increased defensive resilience and good set-pieces are edging Latics up the table but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
In particular, Latics forward players have been well below par and have failed to hit the net since the first day of the season.
The absence of injured forwards Anthony Pilkington and Josh Windass is not helping matters but Moore, Lowe, Jacobs and Gavin Massey are all struggling to make a real impact in the final third.
Cook is relying less on the long ball but there is still a tendency to hoof the ball forward to target man Moore rather than building through midfield.
Moore will be a bigger threat if Latics can play through midfield and get the ball to the wide players to cross for the big striker.
Cook’s team this season are still a work in progress and have yet to deal with a dreadful away record. They will now face a tough fixture at promotion favourites Fulham on Friday night.