Exeter City were punished for missed chances, as they were beaten 2-0 by Wigan Athletic at St James Park, as the Grecians poor League One form continues.
Despite pouring on plenty of pressure towards the end of the game, Exeter could not find a way past the away defence, and an early Martial Godo strike, and a late Will Aimson own goal saw the hosts defeated.
Gary Caldwell made three changes to the team that were beaten against Barnsley, with a full debut for Admiral Muskwe in place of James Scott, and the return of midfield duo Tom Carroll and Ryan Trevitt as they came in for Harry Kite and Reece Cole.
Carroll almost had an assist after seven minutes, as his near post corner was met by Will Aimson, who steered his effort wide of the post.
It was the visitors took the lead as Stephen Humphrys beat Pierce Sweeney to the ball and charged down the left flank before squaring to Martial Godo, and he calmly finished past Vil Sinsalo.
The Grecians started to build into the game, with Sweeney’s switch to Demetri Mitchell allowing the winger to cut inside and pick out the onrushing Zak Jules, whose shot took a deflection and went wide.
Mitchell came close to an equaliser after a corner was played out to him on the edge of the box, but his effort bounced wide of the post.
A free kick on the left-hand side caused chaos at the back for City, and fell into the path of Liam Morrison, who had a shot blocked and subsequently cleared by Sweeney.
It was a frustrating first half for the Grecians, as they found themselves in good positions but struggled to create any inroads into a resilient Wigan defence.
City started the second half with plenty of intent, and a free kick whipped in by Sweeney gave them their first real chance of the half, as Aimson’s header flicked into Trevitt, who had his shot blocked, before Mitchell had an effort that rolled into Sam Tickle.
Exeter continued to press for an equaliser and when Vincent Harper’s cross was met by Muskwe, the ball fell to Trevitt, who got his attempt all wrong and it sliced wide.
Wigan had a rare foray forward with 20 minutes to go, as Humphrys drove down the wing and cut inside, with his effort rolling wide of the goal.
While lacking the edge required to create in open play, corners remained a threat for the Grecians as James Scott floated a pass into Aimson, but Tickle got there first.
City burst through on the break with ten minutes to go, as Reece Cole picked out Mitchell, whose shot was denied by a Wigan defender.
Cole’s set pieces continued to threaten the Wigan resolve, as Aimson was found free in the visitor’s box, but his header flew over.
Exeter had a big opportunity to level the game as they entered into stoppage time, as Mitchell’s deflected pass bounced up to Caleb Watts, but his half-volley was denied by a combination of a Wigan defender and Tickle.
The goalkeeper was called into action once again as Mitchell’s cross turned shot looked destined for the back of the net, until the Wigan man got a hand to it.
City continued to press forward in stoppage time as Yanic Wildschut burst through down the left flank, but his shot was denied by the post.
It felt like it wasn’t going to be Exeter’s day, as Cole fluffed his shot from the edge of the box, which fell to James Scott, but a heroic Wigan block forced the shot wide.
Wigan secured their victory as City were caught on the break, and Jordan Jones burst into the box, with his effort deflecting off of Aimson and into the back of the net.
Exeter City have a quick turnaround as they travel to Pride Park to take on Derby this Tuesday, before they welcome Lincoln City to St James Park next Saturday.
Exeter City: Sinisalo, Harper (Wildschut, 83), Sweeney, Aimson (C), Hartridge (Watts, 45), Jules, Carroll (Cole, 73), Trevitt, Aitchison, Muskwe (Scott, 73), Mitchell.
Unused subs: Macdonald, Kite, Fitzwater.
Barnsley: Tickle, Pearce, Morrison, Sessegnon (Rekik, 71), Hughes, Clare, Humphrys (Magennis, 71), Godo (Jones, 80), Smith, Stones (Shaw, 62), Adeeko.
Unused subs: Amos, Aasgard, McManaman.
Referee: Ben Atkinson
Attendance: 6,337 (509 from Wigan)