A solitary first-half goal from Mauro Boselli was enough to give the hosts the victory, despite playing for 71 minutes with ten men following Jordan Mustoe’s red card.
Jake Jervis had the two best chances for the visiting side, but Richard Beale’s men could not find a way past a well-drilled Wigan backline.
Blues gave starts to overage players David Lucas, the goalkeeper, and midfielder Morgaro Gomis. Also, first-team member Ravel Morrison made a start in a strong line-up.
The hosts included Argentine international Boselli in their starting eleven, whilst Callum McManaman, who featured as a first-team substitute against Sunderland at the weekend, also started the match.
There were not many chances for either side early on, but the game sparked into life in the 19th minute when Wigan were reduced to ten men. Left-back Mustoe was dismissed after mistiming a 50-50 tackle with Ryan Higgins, in which his studs were high.
The hosts seemed to take heart from that dismissal and, 25 minutes in, created the first clear opportunity of the game. McManaman’s mazy right-wing run extended into the box and his pull-back found Boselli six yards out, but his effort was foiled by a superb save from Lucas.
That effort was a sign of things to come for Blues, who were punished two minutes later when Daniel Redmond’s fine through ball was clipped over the on-rushing Lucas by a very composed Boselli.
Blues began to respond on the half-hour mark and trialist Bilel Mohsni fired an effort straight at Calvin Hare in the home goal. Then, the former Southend man nodded a free-kick over the bar at the back-post four minutes later.
Senegalese midfielder Gomis was next to try his luck from distance, with his 25-yard effort going marginally over the bar. Blues were pushing for an equaliser and could have found it in the 41st minute. Morrison sprayed a good ball out wide to the right-back Higgins and his cross was met at the near post by Jake Jervis, but the striker could not direct his header on target.
After the break, Blues began to see a lot more of the ball as the visitor’s backline dropped deeper. But they could not create a good opening until the 61st minute. Morrison played the ball out wide to Higgins and his cross found the head of the on-loan West Ham midfielder whose 12-yard header was comfortably saved by Hare.
The hosts were happy to stifle Blues in central areas, leaving the wings exposed for the full-backs to exploit. Higgins, in particular, saw a lot of the ball and was allowed time to put in crosses, which the Wigan backline dealt with admirably.
It was not until five minutes before the end that Blues created a real opportunity. Higgins was once again allowed to run down the right and his drilled cross found Jervis who improvised to back-heel the ball towards goal, forcing Hare into a good reflex save. The loose ball then fell to captain Callum Reilly at the back post, but his wild effort soared over the bar.
Blues continued to press, but could not find a leveller and consequently lost their undefeated start to the season.
Development coach Richard Beale admitted he was frustrated with his side’s failure to make the most of their numerical advantage.
“It was disappointing that we couldn’t capitalise on them having ten men,” he said.
“We had at least 80 per cent of the play, but they put everybody behind the ball. We didn’t move the ball about quickly enough and our movement wasn’t good enough in front of the ball.
“As the game dragged on we became too predictable, hence it became too easy for them to defend against us. We just ended up putting balls in deep areas which were headed out
“During the game we had two or three chances, but that was not the level you would expect against ten men. We missed a golden opportunity when Callum Reilly fired the ball over the bar from just five yards out and Jake Jervis has also headed wide. On another day if you take them it’s a different story. It’s frustrating and disappointing and in situations like that our players need to show more quality.”
Beale concluded: “In terms of who did well, goalkeeper David Lucas was excellent with his talking and organising from the back. Josh Hawker also deserves a special mention because he is a player that can play in a number of positions and because of that he has to go around the team. But he’s a great lad and goes about things in the right way.”
Blues: David Lucas; Ryan Higgins, Emmit Delfouneso, Jack Deaman, Josh Hawker, (Deqwon Ebanks, 84); Callum Reilly, Ravel Morrison, Bilel Mohsni (Reece Brown, 74), Morgaro Gomis; Jake Jervis, Akwasi Asante.
Unused substitutes: Brice Ntambwe, Callum Preston, James Fry.
Bookings: Morrison (50), Reilly (64)
Wigan: Calvin Hare, Callum Morris, Jordon Mustoe, Jamie McCormack, Jonathan Lynch, Adam Buxton, Callum McManaman, Fraser Fyvie, Mauro Boselli, (Rakish Bingham, 82), Daniel Redmond, Steven Boothman (Ryan Watson, 82).
Unused substitutes: Filip Orsula, Josh Sumner, Guillermo Andres.
Goal: Boselli (27)
Sent off: Mustoe (19)