Wigan Athletic’s revival continued with a sensational victory at Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion.
Latics continued were they had left off at Reading with a high press which kept the Baggies pegged back in their own half for long periods.
The visitors dominated possession and had more shots than the league leaders and thoroughly deserved the vital three points in their battle for Championship survival.
Captain Samy Morsy was the match winner with a composed finish following a goalmouth scramble on 73 minutes.
Latics are now the in-form team in the division having taken 17 points from a possible 24 and have risen to 19th in the table. Albion remain top but are now only one point above second placed Leeds United.
Paul Cook named an unchanged team from the 3-0 win at Reading on Wednesday night.
Latics were without Chey Dunkley who had suffered a broken leg in added time against the Royals, and the players wore ‘Dunkley 22’ t-shirts to show their support for the centre back before the game.
Right from the kick off Latics adopted a high press which put the Championship leaders on the back foot.
The first chance came for Latics when a short corner on the right side allowed Morsy to fire in a left foot shot which was turned away by Sam Johnstone and Joe Williams unable to capitalise on the rebound.
The Baggies first chance came when Matheus Pereira broke clear of the Latics defence and David Marshall had to save smartly with his legs to deny the Brazilian forward.
Soon afterwards Latics had a glorious opportunity to go ahead when Kieffer Moore crossed from the right and Gavin Massey’s diving header crashed against the right hand post.
The visitors were bossing possession and causing plenty of problems for the hosts.
But Latics had to stay alert and Brighton loanee Leon Balogun was again in great form alongside Cedric Kipre in the centre of Latics’ defence.
Marshall then pulled out another good save to deny Callum Robinson when the forward cut in from the left hand side.
All level at the interval but could Latics maintain the same level of intensity in the second half?
It was soon evident that they could as they pressed high and threatened when Lowe fired wide from a good position.
Balogun then came to Latics’ rescue when he produced an exceptional defensive interception to deny Hal Robson-Kanu when the striker was just about to pull the trigger when through on goal.
The German-born Nigerian international Balogun was at it again soon afterwards denying Robson-Kanu with a superb tackle and striding away with the ball.
At the other end, the 35-year-old Gary Roberts threatened when he got into the Albion area but Johnstone denied his low drive from a tight angle.
Latics continued to play with great confidence and produced some excellent periods of controlled possession.
On 73 minutes they deservedly went ahead following a corner and goalmouth scramble.
Substitute Michael Jacobs’ corner wasn’t cleared by the Baggies defence and Kipre’s volley deflected into the path of Morsy who fired home from 12 yards-out.
Balogun had to be substituted soon afterwards as he was feeling unwell and Kal Naismith slotted into central defence.
The Baggies pushed forward as they attempted to save the game but Latics defended resolutely.
Latics then had a glorious opportunity to make the game safe in added time. Moore brought a high ball under control and produced a defence splitting pass into the path of Lowe but the striker was unable to lift the ball over the diving Johnstone.
Latics held on for a crucial victory extending their unbeaten run to five games and moving them out of the bottom three for the first time in three months.
It is hard to comprehend why Cook’s team who have struggled for so long have now suddenly turned the corner and are producing some magnificent performances including victories against the Championship’s top teams Leeds and West Brom.
The away form which has been abysmal for so long has been transformed with four wins in five and the style of football is a joy to watch.
The high press in the last two games is working to perfection and all the players are fighting for the cause.
Marshall has produced some important saves, Balogun has been imperious alongside the reliable Kipre, full backs Nathan Byrne and Tom Pearce have been getting forward down the flanks, Morsy and Williams have been dominant in midfield and forwards Moore, Lowe, Massey and Roberts have posed a threat and battled tirelessly for every ball.
Long may it continue, the great escape is on and Latics are looking upwards.