Wanderers were beaten at a rain-soaked Euxton Training Ground by newly relegated Sky Bet League One side, Wigan Athletic in the latest pre-season fixture on Tuesday afternoon.
Ian Evatt made several changes the starting eleven from the weekend's victory against Accrington Stanley with the aim of giving players short on match minutes a chunk of the game; meaning the team from the first whistle had a youthful element.
The Latics started the brighter of the two teams and moments after Callum McManaman saw a shot from the edge of the box go inches over the bar, he found the net. Kal Naismith surged into the box down the right-hand side and teed up the former Luton Town midfielder to drill a shot into the bottom corner from 15 yards out.
With Wigan barely afforded the time to give themselves a pat on the back, Wanderers restored parity with an equalising goal. Giving Nathan Byrne a tough test down the left-hand side, Jamie Mascoll left him behind with a burst of pace before seeing a low cross guided into the back of the net via the inside of the post by Nathan Delfouneso.
Rather like a game of basketball in the first half with both teams eager to go on the attack, Gary Roberts went close with an effort from distance after a miscommunication between Matthew Alexander and Harry Brockbank at the back before Ali Crawford had a shot held onto by Owen Evans after Jamie Mascoll had latched onto a raking Tom White pass to set up the Scottish midfielder.
Athletic upped the ante somewhat midway through the first half and after Joe Garner went close with a header and Naismith was denied excellently by Alexander, the two combined the restore the lead. Naismith whipped a corner into the near post area where the former Preston North End striker headed the ball into the net.
Before the interval, Garner was denied a second goal by the post with Alexander equal to a fierce Naismith strike. Wanderers trailed by a goal at the break but Wigan were seemingly in the ascendancy and Ian Evatt's men needed to get a grip on the game again.
The chances continued to occur regularly into the second half and after Garner spurned a gilt-edged opportunity from Byrne's low cross, Charlie Adam curled a shot a couple of yards wide of the post from the edge of the box on his weaker right foot.
A couple of minutes later, Wigan doubled their advantage. Naismith was arguably the best player on the day for the home side and after getting the better of Ryan Delaney, he teed up Garner to turn the ball into the net from close range for his second of the afternoon.
With sixty seconds of the restart, Wigan had their fourth and Garner his third. Contesting for a goalkeeper's punt up the field with Adam Senior, the loose ball broke to him fortuitously and he caught Alexander off his line to find the net with a shot from distance.
Callum King-Harmes and George Taft both off the bench had efforts in an attempt to drag Wanderers back into the contest, and despite Evatt's men dominating possession for the final ten or fifteeen minutes of the game it was Wigan who added a fifth through a trialist although it seemed Alexander was fouled in the build-up.
Wigan Line-Up: Evans, Byrne (Crankshaw 65), Kipre (Obi 60), Trialist (Sanders 65), Pearce (Robinson 65), Perry (Adeeko 65), Merrie (Carragher 85), McManaman (Aasgaard 56), Roberts (Trialist 56), Naismith (Joseph 65), Garner (Jolley 65)
Wanderers Line-Up: Alexander, Brockbank, Senior (Santos 56), Delaney (Taft 56), Hickman (Jones 56), Mascoll (Gordon 56), Adam (Sarcevic 56), White (Comley 56), Crawford (Darcy 46), Trialist, Delfouneso (King-Harmes 46).
Wigan Goals: McManaman (5), Garner (32, 51, 52), Trialist (82).
Wanderers Goal: Delfouneso (6).
Photo Credit: Bernard Platt, Wigan Athletic.