Wigan Athletic 2 Preston North End 0 - Match report on defeat for 10-man PNE at the DW Stadium
Preston North End went down to an Easter Monday defeat to Wigan Athletic, playing more than half the game with 10 men at the DW Stadium.
Ryan Ledson was shown a straight red card in the 38th minute for a chest high challenge on Kal Naismith, slight mitigation coming in that he slipped when making the challenge.
But the fact he caught the Wigan man so high saw referee Andy Madley send him for an early bath.
North End were trailing at the time to Leon Clarke's 11th minute opener, the one-time PNE loanee tapping home from close range after a mistake from Ben Davies.
The visitors performed quite well with 10 men, having a good spell of pressure approaching the hour mark when they had their hosts pinned back.
Ben Davies had a header cleared off the line and Darnell Fisher saw a shot blocked.
But a second Wigan goal in the 68th minute from Lee Evans - which flew in off Fisher - ended the game as a contest.
Alex Neil had kept an unchanged side following the 4-0 win over Ipswich on Good Friday, the only change being on the bench with Connor Ripley replacing Michael Crowe as sub keeper.
North End fell behind in the 11th minute, that the earliest they had conceded a league goal this season.
A low ball into the box clipped off Ben Davies' heel and fell into the path of Kai Naismith to the left of goal.
Naismith could have shot himself but chose to square it inside to Clarke who had the simple job of tapping the ball over the line from a couple of yards out.
Davies made amends later, clearing Chey Dunkley's header out of the six-yard box before it troubled Declan Rudd.
North End's first decent sight of a goal was a curling shot from Daniel Johnson which struck Danny Fox on the chest and bounced clear.
PNE went down to 10 men in the 38th minute when Ledson saw red.
The midfielder launched himself into a tackle to compete with Naismith with a bouncing ball 10 yards outside the Preston box.
He seemed to slip as he started the tackle, the result being a very high boot which caught Naismith in the chest.
Mr Madley produced the red card straight away and there were not too many protests from Ledson as he left the pitch.
Straight after the sending-off there was a glorious chance for North End get on level terms as Nmecha's low cross from the right found Callum Robinson in the box but he kicked fresh air instead of the ball and the chance went begging.
In first-half stoppage-time, a Paul Gallagher corner was met by Joe Rafferty but he sent a diving header wide of the near post.
Early in the second half, a slip by Jordan Storey saw him lose possession to Clarke down Wigan's inside-right channel.
Clarke powered into the box and saw his low shot blocked by Rudd at the near post.
There followed Preston's best spell of the game as they put their hosts under pressure despite having a man less.
Gallagher's 52nd minute corner found Davies, the centre-back's header looking destined for the net until Dunkley got in the way to steer it over the bar.
They had a shout for a penalty when Darnell Fisher broke into the box and saw his shot hit Dunkley at the near post, North End appealing that the ball had struck the Wigan player's arm.
But Mr Madley gave a corner as the penalty appeal fell on deaf ears.
When Sean Maguire was tripped by Sam Morsy - already booked - to the left of the box, North End won a free-kick but the Wigan skipper escaped a second yellow.
Gallagher flashed the free-kick across the face of goal, home keeper Christian Walton doing well to palm it away.
However, North End's chances of getting back into the game disappeared in the 68th minute when Wigan scored their second goal somewhat against the run of play at the time.
A cross from the left was half cleared as far as Evans, his powerful right-foot drive from just inside the box hitting Fisher as he tried to block and flying into the roof of the net over Rudd.
Josh Ginnelly and Louis Moult came off the bench to replace Nmecha and Maguire, North End looking to chase the game.
But chances came at the other end as the game got stretched, Clarke shooting wide of the far post with the goal at his mercy.
Wigan: Walton, Byrne, Dunkley, Fox, Robinson, James, Morsy, Massey (Powell 46) L Evans, Naismith (Roberts 67), Clarke (Garner 83). Subs (not used): Gibson, Windass, Olsson, G Evans.
PNE: Rudd, Rafferty, Storey, Davies, Fisher, Gallagher, Ledson, Johnson, Robinson, Maguire (Moult 77), Nmecha (Ginnelly 77). Subs (not used): Earl, Stockley, Huntington, O'Reilly, Ripley.
Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire)
Attendance: 12,496 (2,891 PNE)