WIGAN Athletic slumped to their fifth defeat in a row with new manager Uwe Rosler watching on from the stands.
It was another game where a lack of confidence and firepower up front proved so costly with the side managing to produce 18 efforts on goal but only convert one of them.
They were behind after just three minutes when Millwall’s Steve Morison netted from a corner. Jermaine Easter looked to have put things to bed in the final 10 minutes when he put the home side 2-0 up.
James McArthur gave Wigan hope with a cool finish from distance with five minutes to play but it wasn’t enough.
The home side put on the pressure right from the off and had an early penalty shout when Liam Feeney appeared to be brought down in the area but the referee waved play on.
However, they were in front not long after when Martyn Waghorn’s dangerous corner bounced off a couple of Millwall players before falling to Steve Morison who fired home with the game just two minutes old.
Latics had to show a reaction and slowly but surely made their way into the game.
The treatment of James McClean was horrific from the Millwall fans with his every touch jeered throughout.
But the Irish international was determined not to let it get to him and produced a thunderous effort from 20 yards just before the 10-minute mark which could only be parried by David Forde.
The goalkeeper pulled off one of two world-class saves from the resulting throw-in. Diving the other way, he did superbly to get his hand on a goal-bound Emmerson Boyce header to keep his side in the lead.
McClean was, without question, Wigan’s best player, despite the torrid abuse he was receiving from the stands.
His speed and flair was one of Latics’ best attributes in an otherwise miserable first half and he showed what he can do by darting into the box again and shooting across goal with an effort Forde had to palm away.
Millwall ended the half very much on top though. First they struck the woodwork then Martyn Woolford dribbled his way into the box but was denied by the near post before Waghorn had two of his efforts blocked.
Latics could have equalised just before half-time when Stephen Crainey put a superb ball into the box which was just too high for Nick Powell and as Grant Holt attempted to get to it, he lost his footing and Millwall took control.
Wigan played some nice football after the break but it was the same old story when it came to converting chances.
First, McArthur’s effort from distance sailed wide before Holt finished off a superb passing move with a weak effort at goal, which was easily picked up by the ‘keeper.
Up at the other end, Steve Morison came close when he cut inside the box but luckily for Latics he slipped as he tried to get a shot away.
Caretaker manager Graham Barrow brought on Callum McManaman who brought an added spark to the Wigan attack.
He made an immediate impact when his quick feet earned Wigan a free-kick on the right handside. From that, the ball fell to Leon Barnett whose effort was blocked.
The lack of confidence up front for Wigan showed when McManaman, Ben Watson and Holt were gifted a chance by the Millwall defence but none of the three pulled the trigger and the ball was cleared.
Holt did connect with a McClean cross after 67 minutes though, but his header was just wide.
Millwall looked dangerous on the break and came close when Morison’s shot was just wide before Waghorn did exactly the same.
McClean’s trickery then earned Latics a free-kick in a superb position, right on the edge of the 18-yard box but Crainey’s curling effort was too high.
The last 10 minutes were frantic.
It looked like the home side had put the game to bed when they broke from subsitute Ryan Shotton’s long throw.
A great ball from Liam Trotter found substitute Easter who took it into the box and placed it beyond Carson.
As the home fans began to feel comfortable though, Latics poured forward and McArthur struck a sweet effort from 20 yards into the bottom corner with five minutes to play.
Latics rallied and threw everything they could at Forde to grab a point. McManaman did superbly to make his way into the box before firing a shot, which he claimed hit a hand.
The referee wasn’t interested though and Wigan had to make their way forward again.
Forde then produced another stunning save to deny a Barnett header after he had punched clear Watson’s corner.
It was too little, too late from Wigan though as their miserable run of form continues.
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Trotter, Feeney, Morison, Woolford, Beevers, Abdou, Malone, Waghorn
Subs: Bywater, Shittu, Easter (for Waghorn 79), Moussi, Keogh (for Feeney 65), Hoyte, McDonald
Latics: Carson, Barnett, Ramis, McCann, Boyce, Crainey, Watson, McArthur, McClean, Powell, Holt
Subs: Nicholls, Shotton (for Boyce 77), Perch, Espinoza (for Crainey 81), Gomez, McManaman (for Powell 56), Keane