Wigan’s unbeaten start to the season came to an abrupt end as they crashed out of the Carabao Cup with defeat at Aston Villa.
Scott Hogan (two), Albert Adomah and Birkir Bjarnason got the goals for Villa either side of Ryan Colclough’s consolation before the break.
Paul Cook made 11 changes from the team that beat Oldham on Saturday and the alterations made it difficult for the away side who couldn’t contain Villa as they continued their rampant home form.
This was the beginning of a hectic period for the Latics who started the first of six games in 26 days.
Max Power returned from the cold for his first minutes of the season while Jamie Jones was handed his debut in goal following a summer move from Stevanage.
Ex-Wigan boss, Bruce, also shuffled his pack and handed debuts to teenagers Mitch Clark and Jake Doyle-Hayes who both impressed.
Fellow youngster Callum O’Hare also started while Tommy Elphick and Gary Gardner returned to the team for the first time this season.
Clearly this competition was of little concern for both managers with promotion remaining the priority for both.
But it was still a game with plenty of entertainment, especially in the first-half.
Villa had three early chances to take the lead but were wasteful in front of goal.
Hogan raced through but was denied by Jones on his first start.
The stopper then kept out Clark’s half-volley from the edge of the penalty area before Gardner’s header deflected off Hogan and crashed onto the crossbar.
A goal always looked likely for the hosts as Latics struggled to contain the early onslaught.
It came in the 19th minute when Adomah crossed from the right and Hogan steered home from just five yards out.
A second followed soon after and it was a strike of top quality.
Birkir Bjarnason crossed from the left and Adomah got in front of Callum Eder before smashing a volley into the top corner.
Wigan refused to let their heads drop, though, and pulled one back soon after through Colclough.
The young striker danced past Ritchie De Laet and fired into the bottom corner giving the away side brief hope.
However, Hogan quickly restored Villa’s two-goal lead as he spun on the edge of the box and let rip into the top corner.
Most of the action came in the first-half but there were still moments of note after the break.
Terell Thomas went close with a header for Wigan but the only side who looked like adding to the scores were the hosts.
Hogan had other opportunites to grab his hat-trick but it was Bjarnason who rattled in another late on to wrap up the win.
Villa: Steer; De Laet, Elphick, Clark, Bjarnason, Gardner, Doyle-Hayes (Lyden, 77) Bree, Adomah, Hogan, (Suliman, 80) O’Hare (McCormack, 74). Subs: Bunn, Borg, Abdo. Cox,
Wigan: Jones, Burke, Thomas, Daniels, Elder, Perkins, Power, Gilbey (Burgess, 62) Laurent, Colclough (Hunt, 79) Grigg. Subs: Evans, Barrigan, Stubbs, Merrie, Lang.
Half-time: Villa 3-1
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Star man: Terell Thomas