The hosts achieve back-to-back victories for the first time this season to keep up the pace with their fellow relegation strugglers and increase the gap on bottom side Wolves
Two second-half goals from Antolin Alcaraz and Victor Moses were enough to earn Wigan a vital three points against a lacklustre Stoke at the DW Stadium.
Alcaraz met Jean Beausejour’s delivery shortly before the hour mark before Moses added a second in stoppage-time to give the hosts their second home win of the season, and boost their chances of Premier League survival.
The Latics were chasing back-to-back victories for the first time this season, and were able to call upon Moses to bolster their attacking ranks after scans revealed the striker did not suffer a facial fracture last weekend.
The visitors recalled Ricardo Fuller to the squad after he completed a three-match ban, as they looked for a way to beat Wigan for the first time since 2009.
It was a fairly bright start to proceedings at the DW Stadium, with Wigan keen to get on the front foot from the off.
With a tough fixture schedule looming, Roberto Martinez’s men were keen to seize the initiative against the Potters. Shaun Maloney called Begovic into action again as he parried the Irishman’s volley at the far post following good work from Moses and Emerson Boyce.
The Latics continued to get some joy down the flanks and Boyce had another opportunity on the 20-minute mark following Maloney’s deep cross from the left, but his touch was heavy and Stoke were able to clear.
The visitors, meanwhile, were barely in the match until the half-hour mark, when some poor defending from Boyce gifted John Walters a half-chance inside the area, but he steered his effort wide.
The match was becoming scrappy after the bright opening exchanges. Beausejour and Boyce found themselves in the referee’s notebook after late tackles on Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington.
The Chilean winger was heavily involved in the first half – not least due to an on-going spat with Pennant down the Wigan left – and with five minutes to go until the break, he produced what might be the miss of the season.
Di Santo flicked the ball on to Moses, who drove into the penalty area. His low cross fizzed across the six yard box to the unmarked Beausejour at the far post, but with the goal at his mercy, the former Birmingham man somehow contrived to scoop the ball up in the air and the defence cleared their lines.
It was the last and best chance of a half in which Wigan dominated possession, and left Martinez to wonder if they might rue those missed chances.
However, less than ten minutes into the second half, the hosts finally broke the deadlock, with Beausejour involved once again.
Maloney slipped the ball to the Chilean, who whipped a terrific ball in from the left flank, and Alcaraz powered a header back across Begovic’s goal right in front of the vociferous visiting support.
It was no less than the hosts deserved, although Tony Pulis will no doubt feel aggrieved at the free-kick awarded to Wigan in the build-up to the goal, when Maynor Figueroa went over very easily under a challenge from Glen Whelan.
Stoke had offered little to no threat up until the hour mark, and Pulis responded by sending on Fuller in a bid to unsettle the oft-shaky Wigan defence.
But it was Wigan who should have scored next, and it was another moment Beausejour will not want to watch again.
Maloney flighted a free-kick to the far post. The Chilean winger was totally unmarked but he scuffed his shot into the ground and Begovic was able to save low to his left.
It was a nervy final 10 minutes for the home side, with Cameron Jerome coming close when he fired over from 12 yards, but Wigan made the points safe in injury time.
Moses charged down Wilkinson and drove towards goal, before rounding Begovic and slotting the ball home under pressure from the defender to send the DW faithful into raptures.
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