Wigan 3-0 Aston Villa: Resounding win for Latics
Gary Roberts, Michael Jacobs and Joe Garner score for Wigan.
Last Updated: 12/01/19 7:10pm
Wigan recorded only their second win in 15 matches with a convincing 3-0 triumph over SkyBet Championship play-off hopefuls Aston Villa.
Despite their woeful form, Wigan were on top right from the off, although it took them 41 minutes to make the breakthrough via the left foot of Gary Roberts.
And the second half was more of the same, with the Latics dominating only to have to wait to find the goals their performance warranted.
Substitute Michael Jacobs - making his return after three months out with a hamstring injury - headed home the second goal on 79 minutes.
And Joe Garner made it 3-0 from the penalty spot with seven minutes left, after Josh Windass had been tripped by Glenn Whelan.
Wigan had flown out of the traps with Reece James crossed from the right, straight into the feet of Windass, with only three minutes gone.
But from eight yards out, the former Rangers man could only steer his shot straight at Lovre Kalinic, when either side would surely have produced the opening goal.
And in the blink of an eye, Wigan were almost punished for their profligacy, as they have so often over the last couple of months.
Goalkeeper Jamie Jones - making his first league start of the season, in place of on-loan Brighton keeper Christian Walton - rolled the ball out to Cedric Kipre, who couldn't control the ball.
That allowed Yannick Bolasie to feed Tammy Abraham, but the deadly striker - with 12 goals in his last 10 games - smashed inches wide of the post.
Bolasie was almost in himself moments later when Villa broke from a Wigan corner that was cleared, but the final ball into him was just off target.
Wigan ended the half on top and a Windass corner found Kipre at the near post, but his bullet header flew just wide.
But Wigan were not to be denied four minutes before the break when they did take the lead.
A brilliant save from Kalinic denied Garner from Kal Naismith's cross.
The rebound fell to Anthony Pilkington, on debut, who teed up Roberts and the finish at the near post was clinical.
Windass missed a great chance to make it 2-0 shortly after the restart, and Wigan sent on fresh legs in the form of Jacobs and Nathan Byrne.
Villa boss Dean Smith went even further, making a triple change shortly after the hour mark, in the hope Whelan, Kortney Hause and Albert Adomah could make a difference.
But it didn't affect the flow of the game, and Wigan scored further goals to underline their superiority.
A cracking cross from Lee Evans was headed home at the far post by Jacobs with 11 minutes remaining.
And four minutes later Windass was tripped in the area by Whelan, allowing Garner to slot home the spot-kick to make it three.
Paul Cook: "I'm delighted to win. It's been a tough couple of months for us, since we beat Blackburn at home (on November 28).
"But watching us today, you could never imagine we were a team that was in trouble. I thought from the first minute to the 90th minute we were excellent."
Dean Smith: "I told the players after the game this is the bottom of where I've been so far in my managerial career. And it should be the bottom of where Aston Villa is. I'm an Aston Villa fan and to lose 3-0 two weeks on the spin is very, very disappointing. That performance was rubbish - it was very poor.
"And I've got to earn my money now and make sure it never happens again. There was nothing between the two sides in the first half, apart from the late goal. We had good possession at times, so did they, but nobody really opened anybody up. I just thought that in the second half we got a little bit frustrated and started playing a little bit too much as individuals rather than as a team."