Full time: Wigan Athletic 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Atdhe Nuhiu is mobbed by team mates after giving the Owls the lead at Wigan
Atdhe Nuhiu is mobbed by team mates after giving the Owls the lead at Wigan
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The Owls will enter 2015 six points off the Championship play-offs after beating ten man Wigan at the DW Stadium.

Atdhe Nuhiu’s 77th minute header was enough for Wednesday to return from a bitterly cold Lancashire with the three points.

Hosts Wigan played the last 22 minutes a man down after Callum McManaman sent off for a reckless challenge on Claude Dielna less than ten minutes after coming off the bench.

On a night where real quality was lacking from both sides, the Owls looked the more dangerous after recovering from a slow start against the struggling Latics.

The night began with a dose of bad news for Wednesday.

Royston Drenthe was absent from the matchday squad on what would have been the last game of his loan deal from Reading.

Jeremy Helan beats Wigan's James Tavernier

Jeremy Helan beats Wigan's James Tavernier

Speculation of a move to China for the Dutch winger will have come as a blow to those hoping Drenthe would be remaining at Hillsborough for the rest of the season.

Instead, Jacques Maghoma came back into the side, as did Nuhiu following the pair’s recent exile to the bench.

And Glenn Loovens recovered from his hamstring issue to start with Stevie May and Dielna dropping out.

The hosts started the stronger but failed to test Westwood throughout the first 45 minutes.

Jacques Maghoma

Jacques Maghoma

Wednesday took their time to grow into the game but enjoyed a strong run into half time following a glorious chance for Nuhiu on 20 minutes.

Superb work from Jacques Maghoma took him into the box before he whipped the ball across goal to Nuhiu, whose effort was tame and made for a simple clearance.

Other good chances would follow for the Owls after the mid-point of the half.

Tom Lees met a searching Chris Maguire corner at the back post but fired wide on 26 minutes.

Atdhe Nuhiu

Atdhe Nuhiu

Lewis McGugan produced a driving run and shot which deflected wide.

And close to the break, the on loan Watford forward almost squirmed a shot through the legs of former Owls loanee Scott Carson but the keeper spun to pounce on the ball quickly and avoid embarrassment.

Play began to open up after the hour mark following a goalless first half at the DW Stadium.

After a rather tame performance from hosts Wigan in the first period, they finally had a shot on target after 59 minutes when McClean drew a save from Westwood.

Wigan had the ball in the back of the net on 66 minutes only to see the effort ruled out for offside.

James McClean touched the ball past Keiren Westwood from a free kick but the flag was up quickly to deny the hosts an opener.

Stuart Gray’s side were handed a glorious chance for three points when McNanaman was sent off on 68 minutes.

McManaman launched into a hefty challenge on Owls substitute Claude Dielna and was shown a straight red by Dean Whitestone.

Then came what proved to be the winner.

The big Austrian held off his marker and powered a header from a deflected cross past Carson to see Wednesday make the man advantage count.

Wigan missed a glorious chance to cancel out Atdhe Nuhiu’s opener after a rare error by Keiren Westwood.

The Owls keeper came to punch a Shaun Maloney free kick but missed. The ball came back off the post and James McClean pounced, only to drill the ball into the ground and over the bar.

But that was as close at it got for a Wigan outfit lacking real teeth as Wednesday secured back-to-back victories to finish the year on a high.

Wigan: Carson, Perch, Ramis, Kiernan (Maloney 83), Tavernier, Forshaw, Watson (Espinoza 66), McCann, Taylor, McClean, Fortune (McManaman 59).

Subs not used: Al Habsi, Riera, Boyce, Kvist.

Owls: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Loovens, Mattock (Dielna 58), Maghoma, Semedo, Helan, Maguire (May 86), McGugan (Lee 82), Nuhiu.

Subs not used: Kirkland, Zayatte, McCabe, Lavery.

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northants)

Cards: Yellow: Kiernan (Wigan); Semedo, Nuhiu, Maguire (Wednesday). Red: McManaman (Wigan)

Att: 14,571 (2,778 Wednesday)