Fleetwood Town rallied too late as they were beaten at Wigan Athletic.
Graham Alexander’s men arrived later than normal following the short journey south.
But it looked as though they hadn’t turned up at all as Wigan romped to a half time lead.
The Latics should have had more than a solitary goal from the first 45 minutes.
Home town boy Jordan Flores vollied home six minutes before the interval, bringing to an end a sweeping move from the Latics which began with Jimmy Ryan giving the ball away inside his own half
Ryan sold Amari’i Bell badly short attempting what should have been a simple pass, the lively Jordy Hiwula nipping in and feeding Michael Jacobs.
His first attempted cross was blocked by Ryan, scrambling to make up for his error, the rebound falling to Flores who marked his debut in style.
The Latics could have been ahead well before that - under pressure for near-on the entire 45 minutes.
Eggert Jonsson should have been punished for handling in the box - Hiwula twice wasteful from close range, first swinging at fresh air from a Jason Pearce cross, then sending Jacobs’ centre over the bar.
A deflected Bobby Grant effort was the best Fleetwood could muster - Graham Alexander’s men outplayed and in need of a big second half display.
It didn’t look like it was coming when Wigan took advantage of space giften down the Fleetwood right, Jacobs in acres of space to fire low past Maxwell with the second half less than a minute old.
Town looked in total disarray but a change of system brought about a change of fortune.
Alexander abandoned his wing-back system, going to a flat back four.
The introduction of David Ball and Nick Haughton brought a much needed injection of enthusiasm to the midfield.
And from a set piece Fleetwood pulled one back.
Antoni Sarcevic’s cross was blocked but Tyler Forbes was perfectly placed at the back post to sweep home from a tight angle.
From there it was all Fleetwood, plenty of pressure from the vistors but no clear chances until the fourth minute of injury time.
There could have been an equaliser, Stephen Jordan finding himself in the middle of a crowded box.
His shot lacked power, the rebound falling to Ball whose close range effort was blocked as Wigan made heavy work of claiming their win.
The defeat poses plenty of questions for Alexander - not least over the wing-back system he has favoured this campaign.
It left Town woefully exposed at times, Town far more solid after switch to a back four, despite playing with just one recognised centre half.
Graham Alexander admitted Town shot themselves in the foot with a below-par hour
He said: “We didn’t compete at the level we’d expect for probably the first 55 minutes.
“At that point we’re 2-0 down and it’s a hill to climb.
“The players did their best to do that, got close but we’d put ourselves on the back foot with our performance level.
“Whatever you do if you give goals away you’re going to put yourself in trouble and that’s what we did.”
Follow Town live at http://www.fleetwoodtoday.co.uk/live/event?1403250
FULL REPORT, PICTURES AND REACTION IN THE GAZETTE ON MONDAY