Goals from Nicky Maynard and Martyn Waghorn were enough to see off a dogged Barnsley team as Uwe Rosler’s men continued their march up the Sky Bet Championship table with their third home league victory in a row.
It was also the first time Latics have won three games in all competitions under the German’s tenure and although Barnsley offered up a really determined challenge, especially in the second half, the gulf in class was pretty evident throughout, especially when it came to the final third.
The only real sour note on the night came in the shape of an injury to Ben Watson, who was stretchered off after a crunching challenge with Martin Woods early on.
Rosler’s men had Barnsley back pedalling from the first minute, dangerous crosses whistling in from James McClean and Jean Beausejour, while Nicky Maynard forced Luke Steele into a scrambled save after a poor back pass.
Latics should have opened the scoring on 28 minutes when Josh McEachran, who had come one for Watson, delivered a perfect through ball to McClean down the left channel, the pull-back was perfect for Chris McCann but he blazed just over from 12 yards – a real let off for Barnsley.
Three minutes later, another precision ball from the Chelsea loanee beautifully set up Beausejour but there was no one to turn in the cross.
The pressure finally paid off when more superb work from Beausejour this time set up Maynard with a low cross, who even had time to take a touch at the far post before smashing it home past Steele.
Just before the break, the dominance paid off again, Maynard starting the move with a great back heel to set up McClean on the left. This time his cross found its intended destination, Martyn Waghorn rising excellently to head home from six yards and double the lead.
The closest Barnsley came before the break was a Nick Proschwitz header from a Tom Kennedy cross that went over, while Jim O’Brien tamely shot straight at Ali Al Habsi.
Barnsley boss Danny Wilson brought on Brek Shea and Lewin Nyatanga for Ryan McLaughlin and Chris O’ Grady at half-time to try and shore up his defence, particularly down Latics' left where they had been badly exposed before the break.
They looked far more solid, keeping Latics’ marauding wingers at bay and building up a bit of pressure of their own, but their finishing was way off target.
Rosler responded by bringing on Marc-Antoine Fortune and Roger Espinoza for Maynard and the injured McEachran. Leon Barnett and Fortune had chances to extend the lead but in the end, Latics held out comfortably enough to move up to seventh in the Championship.