Wigan Athletic have climbed to third in the Championship table following a 1-0 victory over Bristol City. Nick Powell struck in the 52nd minute on his 100th league appearance for the club to take the Latics to within two points of league leaders Leeds United.
The Robins lost their second consecutive game following a four-match winning streak. The defeat followed a midweek loss to West Bromwich Albion to keep Lee Johnson's men sixth in the table.
"Both teams looked like they were cancelling each other out in the first half. It wasn't a great game", said Wigan manager Paul Cook. "A draw probably on the night would have been a fair result but that one moment of magic won it.
We had a little bit of luck at the end but, while things are going for us, we're delighted. Nick Powell is a very special player and has the ability to change games like tonight when there's nothing in the match."
Bristol City fail to take advantage of numerous first-half chances
The visitors should have been ahead on six minutes following a disastrous back-pass by Wigan defender Antonee Robinson. Andreas Weimann intercepted the errant pass and was clear in on the Latics' goal only to be denied by a fine covering tackle by Cedric Kipre.
Michael Jacobs and Powell failed to take advantage of their half-chances and it was Bristol City who were back on the attack as Weimann played in Famara Diedhiou, who saw the resulting shot blocked.
More chances came the Robins' way in the form of a series of corners, the best of the bunch coming from Lloyd Kelly, but he disappointingly headed straight at Wigan goalkeeper Christian Walton. The Latics were lucky not to be down a man after Adam Webster clashed with Joe Garner.
Powell nets lone goal to send Latics to within two points of the top
Seven minutes into the second half, the home side were in front when Powell rose to meet a brilliantly judged right-wing cross from Josh Windass to send a downward header past Bristol City goalkeeper Niki Mäenpää. Windass nearly doubled the lead, cutting in from the left, but his shot from 18 yards out was just wide.
It was a disappointing effort by the visitors as they failed to create any clear chances to trouble the Wigan goal, an injury to Tomas Kalas adding to their woes, but they nearly stole a point at the death, Diedhiou's free header easily saved by Walton, a summation of the Robins' effort on the night.
Johnson didn't hide his disappointment following the match: "I'm almost a little bit embarrassed tonight and I'm really sad to have to say that. We didn't play with any cohesion. We were outfought. We were outplayed and we didn't deserve to win.
The statistics will probably tell you we had more possession but it was in the inches, it was in the desire levels. We have got to be better. Full stop. We'll get a bit of stick for tonight and that'll be deserved."