Wigan clinched their first win in seven Premier League matches as Roberto Martinez’s side beat West Ham 2-1 at the DW Stadium.
A stunning volley from defender Ivan Ramis put Wigan on their way in the eighth minute, and just two minutes into the second half the Latics doubled their lead as James McArthur rammed the ball home from close range.
West Ham had lost just one of their last six Premier League games, but they looked devoid of ideas as they failed to haul themselves back into the match in a distinctly flat performance with just James Tomkins’s stoppage time header to show for their efforts.
Both managers named unchanged teams as Sam Allardyce kept faith with on-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, who has yet to score for the Hammers, and midfielder Mohamed Diame made a first return to the club he left in the summer; Martinez, meanwhile, was without Arsenal loanee Ryo Miyaichi due to a groin problem.
Martinez was looking for a positive start from his players after a faltering recent run, and his side responded with a quite brilliant opening goal in just the eighth minute to get them on their way.
Ramis met a looping corner from the left with a crisp, powerful volley from just inside the penalty area, and it was an emphatic strike from the defender, who demonstrated exemplary technique to pick out the top corner of the net.
What ensued following the goal was a barrage of pressure from the hosts as the Hammers found themselves firmly under the cosh, with Jussi Jaaskelainen forced to pull off a fine save to deny James McCarthy, who unleashed a fierce shot from the edge of the box.
Arouna Kone, a perennial threat throughout, should have doubled his side’s lead after the half hour mark as he fired a low shot agonisingly wide of the near post, having been sent through on goal courtesy of an exquisite pass from McArthur.
A foray into the Wigan half from the visitors culminated in a devilish cross from Matt Jarvis evading everyone in the box, and Ali Al Habsi had to pull off a magnificent save to tip the ball around the post and behind for a corner.
Allardyce responded to his side’s indifferent first-half showing by introducing Modibo Maiga at the expense of the ineffectual Yossi Benayoun, but his side would start the second equally sluggishly.
Franco Di Santo delivered a rather innocuous cross from the left, before Shaun Maloney exploited a distinct lack of marking to coolly lay the ball off to McArthur, who lashed home a clinical finish from inside the West Ham box to double his side’s lead.
Martinez’s joy was tempered with the knowledge that his side had conceded exactly two goals in each of their last five Premier League games at the DW Stadium, and West Ham proceeded to throw everything at their hosts.
For all their second-half endeavours, the Hammers struggled to muster a cutting edge in the final third as Carroll cut an isolated figure for much of the game, and Wigan never looked unduly troubled at the back.
The introduction of Carlton Cole just after the hour mark saw West Ham keep the ball in the Wigan half more effectively, but Carroll squandered a glorious chance to break his duck for the Hammers as he failed to control a pinpoint George McCartney cross from close range.
Wigan looked to have preserved their clean sheet in stoppage time as Gary Caldwell, who was impeccable all afternoon, produced an inspired diving clearance off the line to deny Tomkins, who volleyed on target from close range.
But Tomkins still managed to get on the scoresheet in the third minute of stoppage time as he headed beyond Al Habsi from McCartney’s precise dinked delivery.
It was a case of too little too late for Allardyce’s side as Wigan closed out a valuable victory and just their second of the Premier League campaign.
MAN OF THE MATCH
James McArthur – Wigan: The midfielder showed again why he is so highly rated by Roberto Martinez as he dictated the play for his side and showed real composure in scoring the second goal.
WIGAN: Al Habsi 7; Ramis 7, Caldwell 7, Figueroa 6; Boyce 6, McArthur 8, McCarthy 8, Beausejour 7; Kone 7, Di Santo 6, Maloney 7. Subs: Watson 6
WEST HAM: Jaaskelainen 6, Tomkins 7, Reid 5, Collins 6, McCartney 6; Noble 5, Diame 6; Benayoun 5, Nolan 6, Jarvis 6; Carroll 6. Subs: Cole 6, Maiga 6, O'Neil 6.