Wigan Athletic moved out of the Premier League relegation zone and above Aston Villa with an emphatic victory over their struggling hosts.
Wigan made the perfect start when Ivan Ramis escaped his marker to meet Jean Beausejour's corner with a firm header.
Brett Holman smashed a half-volley against the crossbar as Villa briefly threatened before the interval.
"Paul Lambert's team have now conceded 15 goals in their last three games without scoring one themselves. Chelsea and Tottenham hurt big time but this one in the final analysis could be costlier. Wigan recorded their best victory of the season and jumped above Villa to leave them perilously close to the bottom three. It was another disappointing day at Villa Park for the hosts."
Emmerson Boyce calmly slotted in after a superb one-two with Arouna Kone, who added the third from a tight angle.
Hordes of frustrated Villa supporters headed for the exits immediately after Kone completed a routine win that lifts the Latics above Villa into 16th place.
Most of the pre-match talk centred on how their young side, with an average age of 23, would react to conceding 12 goals in their previous two matches.
But they made the worst possible start by conceding their 13th goal in just 183 minutes - after being let down by basic defensive errors at a Wigan set-piece.
The visitors' central defender Ramis, making his first start since late November following a hamstring injury, easily escaped his marker Christian Benteke and took advantage with a powerful eight-yard header from Beausejour's left-wing corner.
The Latics grew in confidence, stroking the ball around as a leaderless-looking Villa chased after their visitors, but Wigan failed to stretch home keeper Brad Guzan again before half-time, despite creating a number of decent opportunities to double their lead.
Wigan midfielder Shaun Maloney appealed for a penalty after he felt he was impeded by Villa's Stephen Ireland and also fired over from Beausejour's pull-back following the Chilean winger's clever run down the left.
The hosts finally managed to build some sustained pressure as half-time loomed, Benteke drilling low into the net with the flag already raised against an offside Andreas Weimann.
And they should have been level at the break when Joe Bennett's deep free-kick was nodded down by Benteke to the far post where Holman's effort beat Al Habsi but hit the crossbar.
Aston Villa are the lowest scorers in the Premier League this season with just 15 goals in their opening 20 matches.
Villa started the second half by creating another opportunity which Benteke headed over but within six minutes they were further behind, Latics defender Boyce bursting through the Villa midfield before stylishly finishing past Guzan after exchanging one-touch passes with Kone.
It was killer blow for an already demoralised Villa and Wigan, who had not won in their previous six matches, capitalised on the hosts' fragile confidence with a third goal.
Kone, recently called up by Ivory Coast for their Africa Cup of Nations squad having missed the past two tournaments, brushed aside a weak challenge from Matthew Lowton to race on to Franco Di Santo's pass and round Guzan before converting.
Villa's dismal day ended with those home fans still inside the half-empty Villa Park ironically cheering substitute Jordan Bowery's late shot on target - though there was some solace as Stoke's late equaliser against Southampton at least stopped them sliding into the bottom three.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez:
"I felt from the first second the players were really focused. It was very important for us to keep a clean sheet but what they did going forward was first-class.
"The movement was very precise and the penetration was very good. I thought we could have got a few more goals if that final pass was cuter.
"It is not just the win against Aston Villa which is important - it's the three points we wanted.
"You can't think anything until you reach 40 points, but today is a massive, massive boost."
- 22 Guzan
- 06 Clark
- 27 Bennett
- 30 Lichaj (Albrighton - 64' )
- 34 Lowton Booked
- 07 Ireland (El Ahmadi - 63' )
- 25 Bannan Booked
- 31 Herd
- 14 Holman (Bowery - 63' )
- 20 Benteke
- 26 Weimann Booked
- 01 Given
- 29 Stevens
- 08 El Ahmadi
- 12 Albrighton
- 15 Westwood
- 40 Carruthers
- 21 Bowery
- 26 Al Habsi
- 05 Caldwell
- 17 Boyce Booked
- 21 Ramis
- 31 Figueroa
- 04 McCarthy
- 06 Jones (McArthur - 65' )
- 10 Maloney Booked
- 22 Beausejour (Gomez - 79' )
- 02 Kone (McManaman - 87' )
- 09 Di Santo
- 12 Pollitt
- 23 Stam
- 25 Golobart
- 14 Gomez
- 16 McArthur
- 15 McManaman
- 19 Boselli
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +0:05
Callum McManaman takes a shot. Save by Bradley Guzan.89:07
Ivan Ramis takes the direct free kick.89:07 Booking
Booking Booking for Andreas Weimann for unsporting behaviour.88:59
Emmerson Boyce fouled by Andreas Weimann, the ref awards a free kick.88:41
Jordan Bowery takes a shot. Save made by Ali Al Habsi.87:20
Callum McManaman fouled by Karim El Ahmadi, the ref awards a free kick. Maynor Figueroa restarts play with the free kick.86:13
Free kick taken by Barry Bannan.86:13 Substitution
Substitution Callum McManaman on for Arouna Kone.86:13
Arouna Kone is penalised for a handball.85:22
Andreas Weimann produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.84:16
Short corner taken by Jordan Bowery.83:50
The assistant referee signals for offside against Arouna Kone. Bradley Guzan takes the free kick.83:05
Unfair challenge on Shaun Maloney by Andreas Weimann results in a free kick. James McCarthy takes the free kick.82:26
Marc Albrighton challenges Franco Di Santo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Maynor Figueroa restarts play with the free kick.79:54
Gary Caldwell restarts play with the free kick.79:54 Booking
Booking Matthew Lowton shown a yellow card.79:50
Matthew Lowton concedes a free kick for a foul on Maynor Figueroa.78:26 Substitution
Substitution Jean Beausejour leaves the field to be replaced by Jordi Gomez.75:14
Joe Bennett has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
Marc Albrighton sends in a cross, Maynor Figueroa manages to make a clearance.72:16
Marc Albrighton fouled by Jean Beausejour, the ref awards a free kick. Barry Bannan takes the free kick.71:07
Marc Albrighton takes a corner.70:59
The ball is swung over by Marc Albrighton, blocked by Jean Beausejour.69:50
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Marc Albrighton, clearance made by Gary Caldwell.69:13
The ball is crossed by Joe Bennett, Gary Caldwell makes a clearance.67:39
Chris Herd concedes a free kick for a foul on Franco Di Santo. Strike on goal comes in from Shaun Maloney from the free kick.66:52
Marc Albrighton delivers the ball, Gary Caldwell manages to make a clearance.66:39
The ball is crossed by Andreas Weimann, clearance by Ivan Ramis.65:39
The ball is sent over by Matthew Lowton, comfortable save by Ali Al Habsi.64:16
Direct free kick taken by Ivan Ramis.64:16 Substitution
Substitution James McArthur comes on in place of David Jones.64:16
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ivan Ramis by Joe Bennett.62:51 Substitution
Substitution Eric Lichaj leaves the field to be replaced by Marc Albrighton.62:51 Substitution
Substitution (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Jordan Bowery coming on for Brett Holman.62:51 Substitution
Substitution Karim El Ahmadi joins the action as a substitute, replacing Stephen Ireland.60:03
Stephen Ireland concedes a free kick for a foul on Jean Beausejour. Jean Beausejour restarts play with the free kick.59:12
David Jones gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andreas Weimann. Free kick taken by Barry Bannan.58:07
The official flags Franco Di Santo offside. Direct free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.56:59
Unfair challenge on Joe Bennett by Ivan Ramis results in a free kick. Barry Bannan takes the direct free kick.55:54
Assist on the goal came from Franco Di Santo.55:54 Goal scored
Goal! - Arouna Kone - A Villa 0 - 3 Wigan Arouna Kone scores a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 0-3 Wigan.54:50
Maynor Figueroa takes the free kick.54:50 Booking
Booking Barry Bannan goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.54:38
Barry Bannan concedes a free kick for a foul on Shaun Maloney.54:09
Arouna Kone takes a shot. Save by Bradley Guzan.51:44
The assist for the goal came from Arouna Kone.51:44 Goal scored
Goal! - Emmerson Boyce - A Villa 0 - 2 Wigan Emmerson Boyce gets on the score sheet with a goal from the edge of the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 0-2 Wigan.50:23
Free kick awarded for a foul by Franco Di Santo on Matthew Lowton. Matthew Lowton restarts play with the free kick.46:11
The ball is swung over by Eric Lichaj, Christian Benteke has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:00 +1:18 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.45:00 +0:37
Christian Benteke has a headed effort at goal from just inside the penalty area that misses to the left of the target.44:09
Brett Holman produces a left-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.42:55
Brett Holman takes a shot.42:11
Direct free kick taken by Barry Bannan.42:11 Booking
Booking The referee shows Shaun Maloney a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.42:07
Shaun Maloney gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joe Bennett.40:42
The ball is crossed by Matthew Lowton.39:49
The ball is crossed by Joe Bennett, clearance by Gary Caldwell.36:58
Foul by Franco Di Santo on Joe Bennett, free kick awarded. Ciaran Clark takes the direct free kick.36:29
The assistant referee signals for offside against Christian Benteke. Free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.35:55 Booking
Booking Emmerson Boyce goes into the book.34:56
The assistant referee flags for offside against Andreas Weimann. Indirect free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.34:36
The ball is sent over by Joe Bennett, Gary Caldwell makes a clearance.33:30
Chris Herd gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Franco Di Santo. David Jones restarts play with the free kick.32:58
Christian Benteke takes a shot. Blocked by Ivan Ramis.32:39
The ball is swung over by Joe Bennett.29:39
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Shaun Maloney, Joe Bennett makes a clearance.28:52
The ball is swung over by Jean Beausejour, clearance made by Chris Herd.27:32
Christian Benteke takes a shot. Blocked by Ivan Ramis.27:07
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Barry Bannan, Shaun Maloney manages to make a clearance.26:16
Arouna Kone has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.25:01
Unfair challenge on Franco Di Santo by Chris Herd results in a free kick. Gary Caldwell takes the free kick.24:18
Jean Beausejour produces a cross.23:48
Unfair challenge on David Jones by Stephen Ireland results in a free kick. Gary Caldwell takes the free kick.21:43
James McCarthy challenges Christian Benteke unfairly and gives away a free kick. Barry Bannan takes the direct free kick.20:12
Effort on goal by Shaun Maloney from just inside the area clears the crossbar.20:01
A cross is delivered by Emmerson Boyce.16:56
Unfair challenge on Barry Bannan by David Jones results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Matthew Lowton.16:25
Stephen Ireland challenges Jean Beausejour unfairly and gives away a free kick. Maynor Figueroa takes the free kick.15:40
Effort from outside the penalty box by Andreas Weimann goes wide left of the goal.12:39
Effort on goal by Franco Di Santo from long range goes harmlessly over the target.12:13
Jean Beausejour delivers the ball, Chris Herd manages to make a clearance.11:45
Brett Holman concedes a free kick for a foul on James McCarthy. Ivan Ramis takes the direct free kick.10:39
Corner taken by Shaun Maloney.8:25
Centre by Andreas Weimann.6:30
The ball is swung over by Jean Beausejour.5:24
The ball is sent over by Jean Beausejour, clearance by Matthew Lowton.4:55
Free kick awarded for a foul by Ciaran Clark on Franco Di Santo. Ivan Ramis takes the direct free kick.4:19
Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Save by Ali Al Habsi.2:25
The assist for the goal came from Jean Beausejour.2:25 Goal scored
Goal! - Ivan Ramis - A Villa 0 - 1 Wigan Ivan Ramis grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Aston Villa 0-1 Wigan.1:53
Jean Beausejour takes the outswinging corner,1:34
Shaun Maloney fouled by Stephen Ireland, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gary Caldwell.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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