Massimo Luongo’s second half strike was enough to seal all three points for a lethargic-looking Sheffield Wednesday and condemn Latics to yet another defeat on the road.
For large parts of the game, Latics put up a spirited display, and had two huge chances either side of the interval to hit the back of the net.
The first came on the quarter of an hour mark, when both Jamal Lowe and Gavin Massey saw their close-range efforts blocked by some desperate defending, before Massey eventually drilled wide.
Then, after falling behind, substitute Kieffer Moore was desperately unfortunate not to draw his side level; striking the bar with his header after an excellent set-piece delivery from the left by Charlie Mulgrew.
But it wasn’t to be for Latics, and the fact that it took a goal of considerable quality to open them up won’t offer much consolation to them, but Wednesday will certainly have been relieved to see Luongo’s curling effort from just inside the area fly into the back of the net midway through the second half.
Paul Cook made just one change from the side which got back to winning ways against Birmingham City on Tuesday night, with striker Joe Garner coming in for Kieffer Moore – while Tuesday’s hero Anthony Pilkington remained on the bench as he continues his return from injury.
Latics weren’t phased by the task in-front of them in the opening exchanges, and really should have opened the scoring on the quarter of an hour mark; when both Massey and Lowe saw shots blocked from close range in what turned into something of a scramble inside the penalty area - after good work by Josh Windass down the left hand side - before Massey eventually drilled wide.
Wednesday were having the better of things in the opening half, however, and had a big opportunity of their own on the 28-minute mark; when Kadeem Harris looped the ball towards the back post, only for Steven Fletcher to miss-time his volley from point-blank range.
The hosts continued to look dangerous, and Latics were given a huge scare six minutes before the interval, when Wednesday captain Barry Bannan struck the woodwork after trying his luck from range.
David Marshall was beaten by Bannan’s dipping effort, but the visitors survived after some sustained pressure afterwards - to ensure that the honours were even at the break.
Latics were clearly buoyed by their first-half efforts, and they started the second period with plenty of vigour, looking threatening with a flurry of set-pieces in the opening couple of minutes – with Chey Dunkley the target man on each occasion.
Wednesday remained on the front foot throughout, but they struggled to create definitive chances, and it took something special for them to break Latics’ resistance on 57 minutes; when Massimo Luongo put his side in-front with a crisp curling effort from just inside the area, after receiving the ball from Adam Reach’s smart cut-back.
Latics remained composed after the goal, and had an outstanding chance to draw level on 69 minutes through substitute Kieffer Moore, who latched on to Charlie Mulgrew’s inch-perfect delivery from a free-kick on the left-hand side and guided his header onto the crossbar.
Paul Cook’s men were riding their luck at times, however, and were very fortunate not to go two down 16 minutes from time, when Steven Fletcher saw a goal ruled out for offside after slamming in from close range.
That let-off added to the growing feeling that there was an opportunity for Latics to grab a point, and despite their best efforts in the closing stages – led by substitute Joe Gelhardt – they struggled to create one last opportunity, and fell to another defeat on the road.
Latics (4-2-3-1): Marshall, Byrne, Mulgrew, Dunkley, Robinson; Williams, Morsy; Massey, Lowe, Windass; Garner.
Subs: Jones, Fox, Pilkington (for Massey 64), Evans, Moore (for Garner 64), Naismith, Geldhart (for Lowe 77).
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Odubajo, Iorfa, Börner, Palmer: Luongo, Pelupessy; Reach, Bannan, Harris; Fletcher.
Subs: Dawson, Fox, Lee (for Luongo 75), Winnall, Thorniley, Murphy, Nuhiu (for Fletcher 88).