LACKLUSTRE Latics slipped out of the Capital One Cup at the first round stage last night with a below-par performance at lowly Burton Albion.
After being under the cosh for much of the opening period, Latics actually took the lead in the 27th minute through Marc-Antoine Fortune’s opportunistic strike.
But Albion levelled on the stroke of half-time through substitute Dominic Knowles, before Stuart Beavon netted a deserved winner seven minutes after the break.
Uwe Rosler had rung the changes for the trip to Staffordshire, with 10 changes from the side which drew 2-2 with Reading in Saturday’s season opener.
Martyn Waghorn was the only player to stay in the starting XI, with full debuts for Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and James Tavernier.
Roger Espinoza was also involved for the first time since his World Cup exploits with Honduras.
And all the Latics’ changes seemed to affect their flow, as they struggled to piece any moves together against an early Albion onslaught.
In the fourth minute, diminutive frontman Beavon nodded down for Adam McGurk to let fly from 25 yards, forcing Ali Al Habsi into a low save to his right.
Beavon then cut inside from the right and saw his dipping shot deflected wide.
Lucas Akins rose to meet Phil Edwards’ cross but nodded off target, and then sent a rising shot over the bar after snaffling up Fraser Fyvie’s loose pass.
When Wigan finally got the ball into their hosts’ area, they did look dangerous, as Fortune held the ball up well and sent in Taylor-Sinclair, whose cross asked questions before being cleared behind.
Before the visitors could actually register their first shot, though, Albion had notched their fifth, McGurk glancing a header narrowly wide after rising highest to meet Alex MacDonald’s well-taken corner.
They finally got their shooting boots on in the 24th minute, as Fyvie collected a loose ball 20 yards out and fired a low shot wide when he really should have at least found the target.
Wigan did better with their next effort, as in their first real incision into their opponents’ box, Fortune was allowed too much time and space to turn and fire a shot across Jon McLaughlin and into the opposite corner of his goal.
Albion’s night looked to be getting worse when McGurk pulled up with a back injury after a fierce bodycheck from Leon Barnett.
He was replaced by Knowles, though, who six minutes later netted the equaliser.
It was a real team goal, Beavon squaring the ball from the left and Akins dummying it for Mousinho, whose driven cross-shot was tapped home by Knowles amid a penalty area melee.
Wigan looked more comfortable as the second half got underway, with Fortune’s cross causing problems before being cleared.
But seven minutes into the second-half, they found themselves behind as Akins’ cross from the right rebounded nicely for Beavon, who rifled home past a helpless Al Habsi.
Their lead established, Albion sat back a little, while Rosler rolled the dice and threw on Grant Holt for Shaun Maloney in an effort to shake things up.
They began to see more of the ball, with Waghorn striding forward and feeding Espinoza, who was crowded out, before Fyvie’s thunderbolt from 35 yards was well held by McLaughlin.
Taylor-Sinclair then fed a neat ball down the left channel, but Waghorn was just unable to connect.
After coiling for much of the half, Albion sprang, with Billy Kee, George Taft and Akins all firing off target.
But Fortune was still a brooding menace of a threat up front for Wigan, and was unlucky that no team-mate gambled on his ball across the six-yard box.
As the game entered the closing stages, a cross from the right looked to be landing on the head of Waghorn, but former Wigan acadmey graduate Phil Edwards launched himself in to clear.