Wigan Athletic welcomed in 2017 with a whimper by slipping to another damaging home defeat - a club-record sixth on the bounce - against Huddersfield.
Town striker Nahki Wells popped up with the only goal 10 minutes from time to settle a desperately poor encounter at the DW Stadium.
Latics goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was unable to hold a long-range effort from Elias Kachunga, and Wells reacted first to prod home from close range as the home defence stood and watched.
Other than that, Jaaskelainen was a virtual spectator as Latics succeeded in keeping their opponents at arm’s length.
Having said that, the home side also failed to notch a worthwhile shot on goal of their own at the other end, resulting in a seventh defeat in 10 games - a sequence that includes only one win - under Warren Joyce.
And the six-point gap to safety already looks a daunting one, especially considering the side’s chronic inability to score goals - or even create chances - at the moment.
Looking to build on the impressive goalless draw at Derby on New Year’s Eve, when they could and perhaps should have won, Latics at least took the game to their opponents from the off.
With Nick Powell restored to the starting line-up, Latics immediately looked a threat as they looked to repeat their win at Huddersfield at the end of November - Joyce’s solitary win in charge.
Max Power was getting forward at every opportunity from his position as makeshift right-back - after Andy Kellett’s late cry-off - with Michael Jacobs also looking his typical busy self further forward.
Jacobs it was who headed just wide after good work from Yanic Wildschut, before firing well over, but that was about it for a first-half that was as cold and unappealing as the weather in WN5.
The pace of Wildschut had destroyed the Terriers in Wigan’s impressive away-day win in West Yorkshire five weeks ago, and he briefly caused alarm at the start of the second period when Tareiq Holmes-Dennis was forced to haul him down just inside the Town half.
Although a fair way from goal, Wildschut didn’t have any opponents between himself and Terriers goalkeeper Danny Ward, and Holmes-Dennis was perhaps fortunate to escape with a yellow when some Latics fans were calling for red.
Wildschut wriggled free moments later only to fire wide of the target - which turned out to be Wigan’s best effort on goal - as the home side continued to show why they are the division’s lowest goalscorers, by enjoying plenty of the ball without doing a great deal with it.
Ryan Colclough - back from a loan spell at MK Dons - took over from Powell, who’d put in a decent shift after over a month out, but still the Town defence held firm without much alarm.
And the visitors managed to nose on front with 10 minutes to go when Jaaskelainen couldn’t deal with Kachunga’s long-range strike, allowing Wells to net in front of almost 4,000 delirious away supporters behind the goal in the North Stand.
Jaaskelainen’s body language betrayed his personal disappointment at the manner of the goal, and it may have explained why he unnecessarily raced yards outside his area shortly after to deal with a long ball aimed at Wells, who managed to toe the ball past the exposed goalkeeper and looked in on goal.
Thankfully Stephen Warnock got back to cover but, despite the late addition of Adam Le Fondre and Craig Davies, Latics weren’t able to find a way back in to the game.