Cardiff City continued their unbeaten start under interim boss Mark Hudson with victory at Wigan Athletic, who remain winless at home this season.
Callum Robinson fired Cardiff into an early lead from Niels Nkounkou’s pass.
Nkounkou was involved again in a slick second-half counter-attack which Sheyi Ojo finished from close range.
Wigan’s Charlie Wyke headed in with seven minutes left but Ryan Wintle sealed Cardiff’s victory with a stunning free-kick in added time.
They now have two wins and a draw since Hudson took charge temporarily after Steve Morison’s sacking last month.
The Bluebirds climb up to 10th place in the Championship table – three points adrift of the play-off spots – while Wigan slip to 16th.
The Latics came into this game with the best away record in the Championship but the worst at home.
Their hopes of a first victory at the DW Stadium were dealt an early blow when, after kick-off was delayed by seven minutes for no apparent reason, Cardiff took a seventh-minute lead.
Left-back Nkounkou created the goal with a well-measured pass for Robinson, who scored his second goal for the Bluebirds with a fine finish beyond former Cardiff goalkeeper Ben Amos.
Wigan looked to hit back with another ex-Bluebird, Josh Magennis, playing a dangerous cross which evaded everyone in the penalty area and Will Keane dragging a shot wide.
The home side appealed for a penalty when Wyke went down after a challenge from Jack Simpson, but referee James Bell ignored their protests.
Mark Harris had a chance to double Cardiff’s lead but shot wide when a pass to the unmarked Robinson looked like the better option.
The Republic of Ireland international was clearly annoyed not to receive the ball, and his frustration was compounded by an injury which forced him off before half-time.
Robinson’s departure did not derail Cardiff’s attacking efforts as they created several chances after the break, with Callum O’Dowda and Perry Ng threatening.
Hudson’s side doubled their lead with a clinical counter-attack as Nkounkou found O’Dowda, whose pinpoint cross was converted by Ojo.
Cardiff thought they had a third goal courtesy of Wintle, but the midfielder was flagged offside.
They looked to be coasting to victory but, with seven minutes left, Wykes nodded in from Tom Naylor’s cross to set up a nervous finish.
Wigan substitute Nathan Broadhead fired wide as the hosts applied late pressure in added time.
Cardiff’s defending became increasingly desperate but they settled their anxiety as Wintle curled in a superb free-kick.
The visitors had chances to extend their lead deeper into injury time, with substitutes Kion Etete and Ojo missing glorious opportunities, but it did not matter as Cardiff maintained their upward trajectory under former captain Hudson.
Wigan boss Leam Richardson:
“I’m obviously disappointed with the result. The main disappointment is the way we started the game, and going behind so early.
“I was disappointed with certain moments, and I just thought Cardiff were more clinical than we were.
“When you dissect it after the game without emotion, we had 35 shots and 60% possession. And there were a few moments where, if you fall on the right side, it’s a different game.
“But fair play to Cardiff, and congratulations to them for the win.”
Cardiff interim manager Mark Hudson told BBC Radio Wales:
“We’d worked on a few changes we were going to make, we knew what threats they [Wigan] were going to pose and I thought we played with a togetherness and spirit.
“To create the chances is good but with Sheyi’s [missed] one, he should have scored – he knows and we know – but you’ve got to create them to score them.
“It’s really pleasing in a tough away game that we pose a threat. We dig deep and it’s a good win.”
- 21BennettBooked at 20minsSubstituted forTiltat 70′minutes
- 27DarikwaSubstituted forNaylorat 70′minutes
- 8PowerBooked at 43mins
- 18ShinnBooked at 61mins
- 11McCleanSubstituted forScullyat 81′minutes
- 28MagennisSubstituted forBroadheadat 70′minutes
- 9WykeBooked at 90mins
- 2. 3Fletcher
- 2. 3Kipros
- 8RallsBooked at 57minsSubstituted forSawyersat 77′minutes
- 11O’DowdaBooked at 61minsSubstituted forNelsonat 87′minutes
- 29M HarrisSubstituted forEteteat 77′minutes
- 47RobinsonSubstituted forOjoat 41′minutes
- James Bell
Match ends, Wigan Athletic 1, Cardiff City 3.
Second Half ends, Wigan Athletic 1, Cardiff City 3.
Attempt missed. Charlie Wyke (Wigan Athletic) header from the center of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Max Power with a cross.
Sheyi Ojo (Cardiff City) hits the left post with a left footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Romaine Sawyers following a fast break.
Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Cédric Kipré.
Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Niels Nkounkou.
Attempt blocked. Will Keane (Wigan Athletic) header from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Max Power with a cross.
Goal! Wigan Athletic 1, Cardiff City 3. Ryan Wintle (Cardiff City) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the high center of the goal.
Charlie Wyke (Wigan Athletic) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Curtis Tilt (Wigan Athletic).
Curtis Nelson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Charlie Wyke (Wigan Athletic).
Perry Ng (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Hand ball by Jack Simpson (Cardiff City).
Attempt missed. Nathan Broadhead (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from the center of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Curtis Tilt.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Curtis Nelson replaces Callum O’Dowda because of an injury.
Curtis Tilt (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Kion Etete (Cardiff City).
Goal! Wigan Athletic 1, Cardiff City 2. Charlie Wyke (Wigan Athletic) header from the center of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Tom Naylor with a cross.
Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Anthony Scully replaces James McClean.