WIGAN ATHLETIC 1 AFC BOURNEMOUTH 3A second half header from Leon Clarke was not enough to spark a comeback for Wigan Athletic, who succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to a ruthless Bournemouth side at the DW Stadium.
A brace from Callum Wilson and a Yann Kermogant strike left the league leaders comfortable, but Latics can take heart from their second half fight back, which saw Leon Clarke score on his debut and the hosts rattle the league leaders until the finish.
Chris Herd, Leon Clarke and Kim Bo-Kyung were all brought in for their Wigan Athletic debuts as Malky Mackay made four changes to the side which battled to a draw at Ipswich last week, with Chris McCann also returning in place of James Perch, Emyr Huws, Martyn Waghorn and Marc-Antoine Fortune.
Latics made an excellent start to the contest, with the towering Leon Clarke catching the eye for the hosts with his presence and touches up top in the opening exchanges.
Clarke made an immediate impact on his new side, teeing up captain for the day William Kvist on the edge of the area within the first two minutes, with the Danish international stinging the hands of Artur Boruc in the Bournemouth goal.
Latics were looking well-structured and comfortable in possession, and started to really rattle the table toppers, with Clarke again causing trouble in the fifth minute; firing a low cross across the area which evaded the closing Leon Barnett.
Bournemouth were rattled, and Latics were desperately unlucky not to capitalise on their bright start just four minutes later through James McClean, whose teasing effort from a free kick in a tight angle left Boruc helpless and clattered against the woodwork.
Latics looked destined to open the scoring, but the visitors settled, and continued the lively start to the contest three minutes later, when Kermogant forced a great save from Ali Al-Habsi with a strong effort from a tight angle on the left hand side of the area.
The league leaders found themselves in a contest, and were more than matched in an entertaining opening half an hour of the game, in which both sides were putting together some good moves going forward.
Wigan continued to look impressive, and it was another debutant, Kim Bo-Kyung, who caught the eye in the 32nd minute, when the South Korean international orchestrated an excellent move which almost brought about the opening goal of the contest.
Kim spread the ball impeccably out wide to Taylor on the left, whose cross towards the edge of the area was then met by Kim, whose fantastic acrobatic effort flew just over Boruc’s bar.
Malky Mackay’s men continued to match their opponents, but Bournemouth showed why they are top of the league to produce two goals in just four minutes to put Latics to the sword.
The first came in the 37th minute through hotshot Callum Wilson, who slipped in behind the Latics defence to slot the ball home into the bottom right hand corner despite suspicions of offside.
The visitors were ruthless, and had their second just four minutes later, when Yann Kermogant won the ball on the edge of the area and drilled the ball past Al-Habsi to give his team a two goal lead at the interval.
Wigan were rattled by the quick-fire efforts at the end of the first half, and struggled to settle early on in the second half, with Bournemouth looking comfortable in possession.
Clarke caught the eye again with his presence upfront, but it was Bournemouth who had the first chance of the half in the 56th minute, when Wilson spurned a great opportunity to make it three; firing over the bar from the edge of the area, after putting in great work to set up a chance for himself.
Wilson soon made amends however, extending Bournemouth’s lead just sixty seconds later, when he skipped through the Latics back four and rounded Carson to make it three.
Latics were shell shocked, and Malky Mackay took immediate action, adding to his half time introduction of Billy Mckay by bringing on Sheyi Ojo.
The move paid immediate dividends, as Latics pulled a goal back in the 61st minute through Leon Clarke, who headed home from close range after getting on the end of a deep James McClean cross from the left wing to give Wigan Athletic hope.
Substitute Ojo began to catch the eye almost immediately on his home debut, with the Liverpool loan signing making some excellent touches and dangerous runs down the right hand side to galvanise his side.
It was Bournemouth’s turn to be rattled, and the visitors were fortunate not to concede again just three minutes later, when Liam Ridgewell forced an excellent save from Boruc from a corner.
The dramatic change in momentum jeered up the crowd, leading to an excellent atmosphere from the fans at the DW, who were really getting behind Latics.
Wigan continued to push, and had a strong penalty shout twenty -minutes from time, when Mckay’s run into the area was blocked by a Bournemouth player, leading to appeals for a spot kick.
The visitors were forced to dig in for their result, with Latics again going close through Barnett sixteen minutes from time, when the defender headed just wide of the post after latching on to Don Cowie’s cross.
Ridgewell again went close with three minutes left on the clock, seeing his close range volley blocked at the back post, but Bournemouth held strong to fend off Latics' fight back and steal all three points.