REPORT: READING 0 LATICS 3
Wigan Athletic claimed their first victory in the Barclays Premier League in 2013 as Arouna Kone netted a first half brace and Maynor Figueroa added a third early in the second half against a Reading side that played the majority of the final 45 minutes with 10 men following Pavel Pogrebnyak's dismissal.
Roberto Martinez made seven changes to his side that beat Huddersfield Town 4-1 in the FA Cup last weekend but he maintained the momentum with this emphatic victory.
Early signs of an open game shone through and in-form Latics created the first chance of the game after just three minutes when Franco Di Santo muscled off Jem Karacan on the half way line before striding towards goal and forcing Adam Federici into a sprawling low save from 25 yards.
Reading started to create chances too and three minutes later Hope Akpan headed over the bar from close range.
Latics had Paul Scharner to thank for some inspired moments of defending, using all of his experience on 25 minutes when he slid in to steal the ball from Pogrebnyak who looked destined to score at the front post from Jimmy Kebe's low cross.
Just as Reading looked like grabbing control of the game Latics began to up the pressure to its highest with Federici tested once again and forced into another low save when Kone dug the ball out from under his feet at close range but was left with his head in his hands as the Australian keeper pushed the ball wide.
The corner count was mounting up and Latics eventually made one count when the ball was floated into the box on 44 minutes, headed back across goal from Caldwell diving header and into the path of Figueroa who in turn headed the ball towards goal and in off Kone's chest as the Ivorian actually looked to move out of the way.
Kone's first of the game provided Latics with their 300th goal in the Premier League since being promoted.
Anyway you get them is a good way and Latics looked like they were going into half time with a solid 1-0 lead.
To the disappointment of the home fans and the elation of the travelling support, Latics were 2-0 up just a minute later when Beausejour released Kone with a pin-point through ball to the right side and from there it was down to the striker who advanced on goal and chipped Federici to nestle the ball into the back of the net for his 10th in all competitions this season.
At half time smiles were etched on players' faces but they knew the hard work would have to continue.
Just as the first half ended with pace and ferocity the second half began in the same manner and three minutes in Latics put themselves 3-0 up.
This one was 100% Figueroa's goal as he created space for himself coming forward down the left and played a neat one two with Di Santo on the edge of the area, following his run through unchallenged into the box before slotting the ball under Federici akin to centre forward's finish.
Moments later it should have been 4-0 when Emmerson Boyce slid the ball across the face of goal to a stretching Di Santo who was inches away from putting the ball into an open goal.
Nine minutes into the half things got even worse for Reading when Pogrebnyak went in late and wild on Figueroa with his studs on the Honduran's ankle and as he received treatment the Russian was given his marching orders and sent off by referee Phil Dowd.
Latics continued to impress as the second half went on and Di Santo once again came close, this time sliding in to convert a Beausejour cross but narrowly missing the ball for the second time.
The outstanding one touch passing and inventive wide play looked to create more goals for the afternoon and Figueroa nearly matched Kone's brace when the Reading defence gave him space once more as he drove the ball at Federici who leaped to push the ball around his right post.
As the game came to a close and Latics looked to seal their first double of the season at the expense of Reading, Antolin Alcaraz returned as a substitute replacing Emmerson Boyce and making his first appearance for six months following a long term injury.
The team saw out the second half with relative ease and Ali Al Habsi barely had to lift a finger all afternoon as he claimed his fourth clean sheet of the season all of which have been away from home.
Latics impressed and at times looked untouchable as they lifted themselves out of the relegation zone and into 17th place.