Nick Powell's 11th goal of the season sees Latics overcome Northampton Town at Sixfields Stadium on New Year's Day.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 0
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Latics were thankful to Nick Powell’s 11th goal of the season as they battled to a 1-0 victory at Northampton Town on New Year’s Day.
Powell’s fifth minute header proved decisive as a gritty Latics kept another clean sheet, starting 2018 in they same they finished 2017.
Paul Cook made one change from Latics’ 0-0 draw at Charlton Athletic, with Reece James returning in place of Callum Elder at left back.
The hosts started brightly with Shaun McWIlliams forcing Christian Walton into a save after just three minutes.
However, Latics went ahead with just five minutes on the clock as a wonderful cross-field ball from captain Sam Morsy found Nathan Byrne, who delivered an equally accurate cross for Powell to glance home a header at the near post.
For the remainder of the first-half, Latics were on top and it took a last-ditch challenge from Brendan Moloney to deny Grigg a second before the cross bar denied Chey Dunkley’s powerful header from a Lee Evans delivery.
Reece James did come to Latics’ rescue as half-time approached, diverting a dangerous Daniel Powell cross behind for a corner to the hosts.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side started the second-half brightly too; Chris Long firing narrowly wide on the angle of the penalty area before moments later McWilliams tried an audacious lob that Walton did well to claim.
Equally so, though, Latics had a good chance to get the first goal after the restart within five second-half minutes as Jacobs crossed for Grigg, who headed off target at the near post.
Moloney fired over on a Cobblers breakaway as the game entered its final 20 minutes whilst Latics almost wrapped it up when Ivan Toney forced a save from Matt Ingram from a free-kick, after a brilliant bit of play by Byrne to drive Latics forwards.
Substitute Max Power and Byrne linked up down the right to present Lee Evans with a chance to score, only for the Welsh international to see his effort deflected away.
Latics held firm in four minutes of stoppage time for another superb away performance and result.
Northampton Town: Ingram; Moloney, Taylor (Capt), Poole, Smith; Crooks (O’Toole 60), Grimes; Foley, Powell (Richards 83), McWiliams (Hoskins 73); Long.
Subs: Cornell, Buchanan, Waters, McGugan.
Wigan Athletic: Walton; Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, James; Morsy (Capt), Evans; Jacobs, Powell (Toney 71), Massey (Power 70); Grigg (Perkins 84)
Subs: Sarkic, Bruce, Roberts, Hunt.