REPORT: BARNSLEY 0 LATICS 4
Owen Coyle's reign as Latics manager began with gusto and intent as Latics put four in against Barnsley at Oakwell with debut goals for Grant Holt and Leon Barnett.
Ben Watson opened the scoring in the first half before Holt added the second, Barnett the third and Shaun Maloney put the game to bed with two minutes left.
Coyle handed debuts to five of his summer signings at kick off, with Scott Carson, James Perch, Barnett, Stephen Crainey and Holt in the starting XI.
Latics looked confident from the start as they zipped the ball about and worked to find the outboards on the wings of Shaun Maloney and Jean Beausejour.
Beausejour was Latics' most dangerous player for the opening 25 minutes or so as he constantly found space down the left and forced crosses into the area.
The first chance of the game fell to Maloney though, just 12 minutes in McArthur's blocked shot on the edge of the area fell to Beausejour on the left, his cross bouncing through the penalty area to Maloney at the back post who struck with his left foot and forced Luke Steele into a low save with his legs.
Barnsley did have pressure of their own with a clear aim of aerial attacking as the ball was lofted over the top on a number of occasions but to no danger for Latics' defence as Perch and Barnett remained solid.
Latics had a penalty shout turned down on 21 minutes when Barnett was bundled over in the area from behind but referee Geoff Eltringham was having none of it.
Then the break through came 16 minutes later as Barnsley backed off and Watson simply picked his spot.
The FA Cup final match winner pushed the ball out of his feet and struck sweetly with his right foot from 25 yards into the bottom left corner to kick off Latics' campaign in the Championship.
Another chance came four minutes later when Holt fed James McCarthy into the area down the right behind the defence, with the Republic of Ireland international stinging the gloves of Steele he dove to his right to save.
Half time passed by and Barnsley looked to have more purpose about them for the opening five minutes but on 53 minutes Latics had a second and a debut goal scorer.
A corner from Shaun Maloney was floated into the box and as Barnsley attempted to clear the ball fell to Boyce at the back of the area, his shot at goal flicked off the chest of Holt and nestled into the back of the net for 2-0.
Latics continued to press for goals and Beausejour almost had it when Maloney fed McCarthy down the right, but McCarthy's pass across the box to an open Chilean left midfielder was too heavy.
The pressure was piled on and Latics could smell a third goal.
Before Latics could get another, Barnsley had a nightmare when substitute Dale Jennings was sent off six minutes after coming on for a two footed tackle on James McArthur.
McArthur was soon after substituted although fine to carry on and Callum McManaman came on to torment the Barnsley defence.
His introduction could spell only one thing, more goals, but it wasn't from that likely source that the next one arrived.
Just moments before the third came along, substitute Chris McCann stung the gloves of Steele from 30 yards with a rasping left foot drive.
From the resulting corner Barnsley failed to clear and when the ball fell in front of Barnett he simply poked it in.
With two minutes of normal time to play Shaun Maloney tapped home Latics fourth when Marc-Antoine Fortune shot at Steele from close range but saw his attempt blocked, only to get back up and square it to Maloney.
It was a brilliant day for football with the sun beating down and a brilliant day for a 4-0 victory.
2,371 travelling Latics fans were in full voice behind the goal and the show of passion towards them from the players at full time was there for all to see.