Scunthorpe 1 Wigan Athletic 2
Second-half goals from Dan Burn and Nick Powell meant Wigan Athletic could survive the sending-off of Lee Evans to secure a precious three points at promotion rivals Scunthorpe.
After a tight first half, during which the visitors enjoyed the best of the play without managing to break through, most of the excitement took place after the break.
Six minutes after the restart, Burn - who’d cleared off the line miraculously from Rory McArdle in the first half - was on hand to leather the ball home after the Iron couldn’t clear a corner.
Latics were dealt a blow just before the hour mark when Evans was given a straight red card for appearing to head-butt Funso Ojo after a scuffle between the pair.
But Powell gave Latics valuable breathing space inside the final quarter with a cool left-foot finish, with Scunthorpe’s last-minute consolation through Ojo coming too late to make a difference.
The result sees Latics cut the gap on leaders Shrewsbury to just two points after 12 games played, with Paul Cook’s men now holding the joint-best scoring and joint-best defensive records in League One.
The opening quarter was a scrappy affair with neither side managing to get into any kind of rhythm.
Defences were well on top - not surprisingly really given two sides had shipped the fewest goals between them in the division.
Latics threatened when a driven cross from Callum Elder from the left fizzed all the way through to Nick Powell at the far post, but the angle was too tight and the header was wide.
Another cracking ball in from Elder looked as though it would find Will Grigg at the far post, before the timely intervention of a home defender at the expense of a corner.
Powell then lined up a free-kick from 30 yards out, but he couldn’t beat the wall with his vicious effort.
At the other end, the Iron came within inches of taking the lead with their first real attack.
A lovely inswinging free-kick from Josh Morris saw McArdle beat goalkeeper Jamie Jones in the air.
His header was looping its way in before Burn’s acrobatic clearance from the goalline saved the day.
Latics themselves came within a whisker away from taking the lead moments later, again from a free-kick.
A lovely delivery from Evans found Chey Dunkley, whose header flashed inches wide of the far post, with Matt Gilks well-beaten.
Powell then lofted in a lovely ball in that Gavin Massey was only inches away from.
The half came to a close with Latics still on top, with an Evans corner somehow evading Grigg, Dunkley, Burn and Powell on its way through the penalty area.
The visitors picked up where they’d left off after the restart, taking the lead within six minutes.
Scunthorpe couldn’t clear a Gary Roberts corner, and Burn controlled well before turning and firing it into the roof of the net from 12 yards
It was almost 2-0 just three minutes later, when Roberts played in Grigg, who hit it powerfully on the half-volley, only for Gilks to pull off great one-handed save at full stretch.
There was a flashpoint just before the hour mark, though, which saw Latics reduced to 10 men for the last 33 minutes.
Evans was initially the victim of a foul by Ojo, and the pair confronted each other before Evans appeared to stick his head in to the face of his opponent.
Referee Robert Lewis consulted his assistant before brandishing red - the fourth time Latics have had a man sent off this term.
The immediate reaction from boss Cook was to send on David Perkins for Grigg, soon followed by Terell Thomas for Massey, which meant a switch to a back five for the last quarter.
Despite being a man light, Latics continued to push forward, and only a goalline clearance from Scunthorpe defender Kevin van Veen kept out Dunkley’s header, from another fine Roberts corner.
Latics had a warning when Jones had to move smartly across his goal to keep out Sam Mantom’s shot.
But within 60 seconds, the points were all-but safe.
Jones it was whose long kick downfield found Powell, who had only one defender between himself and the goal.
A clever first touch gave him a shooting opportunity, and the left-foot finish into the far corner was as clinical as they come.
That was Powell’s final contribution, with him being replaced by Ivan Toney before the game could restart.
Scunthorpe pulled one back in the very last minute through Ojo, but Latics successfully negotiated the five added minutes to secure three deserved points.