Roberto Martinez made one change to the side that started against Liverpool at the beginning of the week with Marcelo Moreno making way for Victor Moses who made his first start for the club since joining from Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day.
However the side that had tasted victory just at the DW Stadium didn’t bring the same desire that had earned them all three points against the Merseyside giants.
Latics could probably feel hard done by yet again thanks to the referee’s decision not to award them a penalty early in the game when Hugo Rodallega was unceremoniously dumped on his backside in the area by Zat Knight as he lined up a shot on goal.
Rodallega was beginning to worry the Bolton defence but Wigan were left deflated in the 10th minute when Kevin Davies appeared to barge Titus Bramble off the ball to tee up Johan Elmander who raced clear thanks to a slip by Gary Caldwell to fire past Kirkland.
Paul Scharner may feel he could have done better in the 19th minute when he connected with a Victor Moses free kick but his header hardly troubled Jussi Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal.
Kevin Davies and Andy O’Brien both tried their luck minutes later but it was Wigan’s N’Zogbia that went closest to grabbing the afternoon’s second goal but the French winger’s shot just before half-time was pushed behind by Jaaskelainen for a corner.
Owen Coyle’s side had their noses in front at the break courtesy of Elmander’s goal but Wigan will have believed that they were still in the game as they took the field for the second half.
However their hopes of getting anything from this local derby were dented three minutes after the restart when Tamir Cohen took full advantage of Caldwell’s outstretched leg sending the Israeli midfielder sprawling in the penalty area as he pressed for goal.
Referee Mike Dean had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Bolton skipper Kevin Davies stepped up to ram home his fifth league goal of the campaign.
Things got even worse for Roberto Martinez’s side minutes later with Fabrice Muamba getting the better of Caldwell before firing past Chris Kirkland for the 21-year-old’s first ever goal in a Bolton shirt.
The home side wrapped up the game in the 69th minute when Matthew Taylor, who had only just come on as replacement for Jack Wilshere, latched on to a flick on from Elmander which Caldwell should have dealt with.
Croatian international Ivan Klasnic went close to heaping further insult on Wigan but thankfully for the visitors his overhead kick went narrowily wide of the upright.
Wigan will now quickly have to pick themselves up and put this defeat behind them as they prepare to face Aston Villa at the DW Stadium on Tuesday evening.