Wigan Athletic made it eleven games unbeaten in SkyBet League One against Shrewsbury Town, with Alex Revell’s first goal for the club proving the difference.
Latics were made to work hard to break down a stubborn visiting defence, but were in control of the contest throughout, with Revell’s fine first half header from 12 yards enough to bag all three points.
The result means that Latics move upto fourth into the table, and extend their unbeaten run in the league to 11 matches.
Latics boss Gary Caldwell made two changes to the side which won away at Rochdale last week, with Tim Chow and Chris McCann brought into the side in place of Jason Pearce and Craig Davies – who dropped to the bench.
Alex Revell retained his place in the starting line-up, meaning that he made his home debut this afternoon, and the striker took no time in settling into life at the DW, looking lively and winning a dangerous free-kick for his side inside two minutes.
It was a lively opening five minutes for Latics, who were looking dangerous in the opening exchanges, with Max Power having the first effort on goal on five minutes - blasting over from range.
Yanic Wildschut cut in from the left hand side with one of his trademark runs, before teeing up the midfielder, who blasted it wide from range.
The visitors soon settled in to the contest however, making it difficult for Latics to break them down with an organised and firm defensive display.
Latics found themselves playing with ten men around the ten minute mark too, when Michael Jacobs’ was on the receiving end of a robust tackle from a visiting defender.
The winger initially returned to play after receiving treatment, but eventually was deemed unable to continue on 14 minutes, with Will Grigg brought on to replace him.
Shrewsbury continued to look firm, but Yanic Wildschut continued his impressive form for Latics, constantly causing trouble with his pace and strength down the left.
Latics continued to probe, and carved out their first realistic opportunity of the contest on 24 minutes through Will Grigg, who broke on the right hand side and dinked the ball in towards Tim Chow at the near post, who couldn’t quite beat Leutwiler to the ball.
The visitors soon caused trouble themselves however, and captain James Collins was almost released on the break three minutes later, but the striker had just slipped into an offside position.
Latics were turning the screw however, and went close to taking the lead on the half hour mark through Reece James, who connected with Will Grigg’s cross from the right at the far post, but couldn’t quite keep his first time effort on target.
Caldwell’s men were suddenly firmly on the front foot, and they made their dominance tell nine minutes from the interval through Alex Revell, who capped off an excellent team move to put his side into the lead.
Max Power started the move with an excellent ball to spread the ball out on the left to Wildschut, who cut inside and dinked the ball into Revell, who rose well and powered his header past Leutwiler from 12 yards to score on his home debut.
It could and possibly should have been two on 40 minutes, when Wildschut again produced an amazing run, beating two before swinging a ball in that neither Grigg or then Tim Chow could guide home, with the latter stabbing wide from point blank range to keep the advantage at one at the interval.
Wigan Athletic restarted the second half in a similar vein, with plenty of possession, but struggled to carve out a clinical final ball in the opening ten minutes, with several chances just failing to materialise.
The visitors soon dug in again however, and made sure Latics were working hard to keep their advantage intact.
Shrewsbury were looking confident, and had a good five minute period just before the hour mark, with the eye-catching Sulley Kaikai jittering nerves on 57 minutes with his effort from a free-kick, that just dropped wide of Jaaskelainen’s right post from 30 yards.
The period was a mere blip, however, and Latics were soon back in control, with Caldwell’s men unlucky not to put themselves out of sight.
Wildschut continued to cause trouble, and cut inside on 69 minutes from the left, before blasting the ball over on the edge of the area.
The chances continued to flow, and Latics could and possibly should have doubled their advantage two minutes later through Donervon Daniels, who rose excellently to Reece James’ cross from the left, before glancing his header wide of the far post.
Latics were struggling to put the game to bed, which invited the visitors back into the contest, and Shrewsbury almost made the hosts pay a minute later from Kaikai, who forced an excellent save from Jaaskelainen with his low effort on the right hand side of the area.
The hosts were suddenly rattled, and Caldwell’s men found themselves having to dig in to keep their lead intact, with Shrewsbury slowly growing in confidence.
Caldwell took action, introducing Craig Davies and then Jason Pearce, to sure up his side for the remaining ten minutes.
The changes brought some reassurance to the line-up and the chances soon flowed again, with Latics’ having three late chances to wrap the game up.
The first came on the break from Craig Davies on 86 minutes, who broke down the left hand side and forced a strong stop from Leutwiler, with Wildschut seeing his effort on the rebound blocked.
Chris McCann built on that with a brilliant effort 60 seconds later. The midfielder looked to have scored an absolute piledriver from just outside the area, only for the visiting ‘keeper to pull off a brilliant save.
Leutwiler was called into action again one minute from time, preventing Max Power from guiding the ball home on the left by touching the ball narrowly over the bar.
Latics then had to navigate a nervous five minutes of added time, but held firm, to ensure they made it 11 unbeaten in the league.