MALKY Mackay was once again left to bemoan a lack of cutting edge as Wigan Athletic failed to seize the opportunity to close the gap on their relegation rivals as they crashed 2-0 at home to Watford.
Ben Watson enjoyed a winning return to Wigan as Troy Deeney’s second-half brace prevented Latics making up further ground on the likes of Rotherham and Fulham.
The first half was tight with both sides in desperate need of the points at either end of the table. But from the moment Deeney opened the scoring nine minutes after the restart, Latics were presented with another mountain that they were unable to climb.
They huffed and puffed and never gave up the fight, throwing on new-boys Josh Murphy and Jerome Sinclair for debuts.
But they never really forced goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes into meaningful work, and were put out of their misery in the last minute.
Fernando Forestieri raced through the left channel before being tripped in the area by Emmerson Boyce.
And Deeney made no mistake from the spot to sent Watford top - and leave Latics six points adrift of safety.
“We went toe-to-toe with them and for vast parts of the game we were equal with them,” recognised Mackay.
“Great credit to my players for the way they kept going, and I think the fans are seeing incredible strength and incredible performances from our team in terms of work ethic and effort.
“We’ve just got to keep going. There’s eight games to go, and we’ve got to win two more games than the sides above us. Simple as that.”