Wigan Athletic produced their best performance of the season with an emphatic 3-0 victory at Reading.
The visitors dominated the first half and went ahead through a sublime finish from Kieffer Moore on 23 minutes.
The visitors doubled their lead when Jamal Lowe volleyed home from the edge of the box on 63 minutes and substitute Michael Jacobs completed the scoring with a superb chipped finish in added time.
The Royals rarely threatened but when they did keeper David Marshall was in fine form producing an excellent triple save to deny substitute Charlie Adam and Sam Baldock twice at close range.
The only negative for Latics was an injury to centre back Chey Dunkley who was stretchered off in added time.
Latics remain in 22nd spot but moved a step nearer to Championship safety and are now on level points with 21st placed Middlesbrough who lost at home to Leeds. Reading are in 16th spot, only five points from safety and it looks like they will be dragged into the relegation dogfight.
Paul Cook made three changes from Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Millwall, with Gavin Massey, Gary Roberts and Tom Pearce replacing Kal Naismith, Michael Jacobs and Anthony Pilkington.
Latics dominated from the kick off, pressing high and making it difficult for the Royals to play out from the back.
Joe Williams went closest in the opening minutes when he drove forwards from midfield and forced a full length save from Rafael Cabral.
Latics continued to press and in the 23rd minute they went in front through a sublime piece of skill from Moore.
Nathan Byrne crossed from the right for Moore who instinctively flicked the ball past a stunned Cabral.
Leon Balogun made an important block on the half hour mark to deny a rare Reading attack. John Swift found Sam Baldock in the clear but the big Nigerian international defender made a last ditch challenge to avert the danger.
On 38 minutes Morsy lofted a high ball into the Royals box and Cedric Kipre had an opportunity to double Latics’ lead but he headed just over the crossbar.
It had been a dominant display by the visitors in the first half, but the question was could they maintain their dominance in the second half?
They started the second period strongly and Lowe evaded several defenders before driving into the box only to be denied by a last ditch challenge which prevented the final shot.
The former Portsmouth striker has found goals hard to come by in the Championship but he got on the scoresheet on 57 minutes, volleying home from the edge of the box.
Williams nearly added a third for Latics on 70 minutes but once again he saw his effort well tipped around the post by Cabral.
Reading substitute Michael OIise forced a good save from Marshall after Latics’ defence failed to clear.
Latics substitute Lee Evans then twice forced excellent saves from Cabral, first from a 25-yard free-kick and then later from a 30-yard volley that was destined for the top corner.
The visitors could have made it three soon after as Pearce’s cross from the left found Kipre, but he headed straight at Cabral from close range.
Marshall then came to Latics’ rescue with a superb triple save, first denying Adam’s strike from distance then the two follow ups from Baldock at very close range.
In added time the hosts had an opportunity to pull a goal back but Baldock, under pressure from Latics substitute Chey Dunkley, fired over. As a result of Dunkley’s challenge he was badly injured and had to be stretchered off.
In the dying seconds of nine minutes of added time Jacobs broke clear of the Royals defence and finished superbly chipping the ball over the advancing Cabral to seal a special away day for Latics.
It had been a dominant team performance by Latics against relegation rivals and it will give everyone confidence that they can now go on to pull off another great escape.
Following the midweek results it now appears that more teams are being dragged into the relegation battle. Reading and Hull City are in poor form and look vulnerable. They will have to compete against Luton, Barnsley, Middlesbrough, Stoke, Huddersfield, Charlton and Wigan for Championship survival.