An unstoppable strike from Marc-Antoine Fortune handed FA Cup holders Wigan victory over Morecambe at the Globe Arena on Wednesday night.
The Frenchman’s stunner 15 minutes from time consigned the Shrimps to their third friendly defeat in a week against higher-ranked opposition.
It was an entertaining encounter with plenty of positives for Jim Bentley’s side against a near full-strength Latics side.
Owen Coyle’s visitors impressed from the off, Roger Espinoza shot narrowly wide from 20 yards before £2 million striker Grant Holt should have given the visitors the lead on 14 minutes.
The former Norwich man got in behind Chris McCready under a high ball and one-on-one with Barry Roche lifted it over the Shrimps stopper but wide of the far post.
The home side struggled to get a foot in the game, but Joe Mwasile was once again bright early on, cutting in from the left and shooting narrowly wide from 20 yards.
But it was Wigan who could have been out of sight in the first half, skipper Emmerson Boyce waltzing through the Shrimps’ defence all too easily on 21 minutes before seeing his shot beaten away by Roche.
A slick counter attack then released Callum McManaman in on the right side of the area but he could only blaze over when he should have tested Roche.
The Shrimps weren’t without chances of their own and came back into the game, Ryan Williams forcing England goalkeeper Scott Carson to tip a 20-yard free-kick over the crossbar on the half hour. Williams then started an excellent Shrimps move which nearly gave them the lead.
The midfielder chipped the ball forward to Jack Sampson who held the ball up well before feeding Kevin Ellison who cut onto his left foot just outside the area but drilled his shot wide of Carson’s left-hand post.
The visitors nearly went ahead on the stroke of half-time, Boyce rising highest from a corner and firing a bullet header just wide.
The second half continued much in the same vain as the entertaining first.
Sampson once again released Ellison 10 minutes after the restart but Carson was out in a flash to block the Shrimps man’s effort when in one-on-one.
Williams then tested Carson with another free-kick just before the hour mark, the Latics ‘keeper getting down well low to his left before Mark Hughes’ rebound was scrambled clear.
The midfielder’s set pieces continued to be a weapon for the Shrimps, a 30-yard attempt going narrowly wide on 62 minutes.
When the game did get its goal it was a worthy winner from Fortune.
As the Latics counter-attacked he cut inside Tony Diagne and fired an unstoppable right-foot shot from just outside the area past Roche’s outstretched left hand to give the visitors the lead and ultimately victory.
Morecambe: Roche, Parrish (Denson 78), McCready, Hughes (capt) (Diagne 72), Threlfall, Kenyon (Drummond 87), Williams (Wright 78), McGee (Fleming 66), Ellison (Carlton 78), Mwasile (Amond 66), Sampson. Subs not used: Jones.
Wigan: Carson, Boyce, Perch, McCann, Crainey, McArthur (Fyvie 63), McCarthy, Espinoza (Watson 59), McManaman (Redmond 72), Maloney (Beausejour 59), Holt (Fortune 59). Subs not used: Nicholls, Mustoe, Bingham, Buxton.
Referee: Paul Tierney