BRETT Pitman’s early goal was the difference as Swindon Town beat Wigan Athletic 1-0 despite going down to 10 men midway through the second half.

Following Pitman’s 17th-minute close-range header, Town looked pretty comfortable against their relegation rivals, even after Dion Conroy’s second-half red card for bringing down Will Keane as last man.

The three points briefly took Town out of the relegation zone while also re-setting an unwanted record on Tuesday nights. Victory over Wigan was the first time Town had won a league game on a Tuesday night since beating Scunthorpe United 2-0 in March 2020.

John Sheridan made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 away at Hull City on Saturday.

The outgoing Diallang Jaiyesimi and Kieron Freeman were replaced by Akin Odimayo and Jack Payne while Scott Twine was replaced by Pitman in a change of shape for Town.

Sheridan’s men began the game in a 4-4-2 formation with Tyler Smith and Pitman up front, and the elder of the pair seemed in the mood to cause Wigan a problem from the first minute.

His hold-up play was encouraging in the early moments, and in the 17th minute, Pitman was duly rewarded with a goal.

Matt Palmer absolutely fired a cross in from the right and Smith headed goalwards.

Jamie Jones spilled the firm header in front of him, and Pitman was on hand to nod into the net from close range.

Though Wigan certainly posed a threat down the left through Tom Pearce, it was Town who were creating the clear chances more often.

After half an hour, Hallam Hope saw a firm strike batted away by Jones before the follow-up was well blocked by Tendayi Darikwa.

Minutes later, Pitman almost grabbed his second after Payne's whipped ball into the centre was flicked goalwards.

Plenty of 'oohs' went up from the Arkell’s stand, but the ball just flashed wide of Jones' right-hand post.

Zak Clough blasted well wide from long range in the 37th minute as Wigan reminded Town that they would still come forward at any opportunity.

With eight minutes to go until the break, Town almost scored a second after some lovely football between Jordan Lyden, Hope and Dom Thompson saw Lyden on the end of the chance.

Thompson received a pass down the left before sliding a hard, low cross into the middle. Lyden's right-footed effort was firm from the penalty spot, but well cleared from the goal line by Curtis Tilt.

Thompson had to be at his athletic best to deny the visitors an equaliser at the other end too after Pearce’s cross floated towards Will Keane.

The Brentford loanee leapt up just in time though to turn the ball away from danger.

In a chance-filled final five minutes of the first half, Keane was unable to turn a close-range shot on target before Jack Payne almost scored a sensational solo goal.

He took on several Latics men before scooping his final effort tamely at Jones.

And just before the break, Matt Palmer very nearly curled straight in from a corner.

The wind took hold of the midfielder’s corner from the left and Jones had to scramble across to palm the ball away from danger and keep Wigan in the game.

Heavy rain and blustery conditions were making creating chances difficult for either side, and it took until the hour mark for the first chance to occur after the break.

Payne, who had been involved in so much of Town's good stuff bravely headed the ball away from Tilt before collecting the rebound and charging in at goal.

The Wigan defender did well to recover though, and Payne's left-footed shot from inside the box was blocked.

Midway through the second half, Town were reduced to 10 men after Conroy was shown a straight red card.

The Town captain did well initially to hold off Callum Lang before getting himself into trouble as Keane nipped in.

Conroy tripped the Wigan striker when attempting to poke the ball away, and the referee blew for a foul just outside the box.

After consulting his linesman, David Rock gave Conroy a red card and Town were left a man down for the final 20 minutes.

It took until the 75th minute for Wigan to have their first real chance of the second half as substitute Thelo Aasgaard saw a left-foot shot blocked by Odimayo inside the box.

The ball rebounded out to Pearce outside the box, but he slammed his shot into the Stratton Bank.

Wigan huffed and puffed in the final 10 minutes, but they never really looked like finding an equaliser as Town saw the time out with relative ease.

STFC starting XI: Travers, Odimayo, Conroy, Masterson, Thompson, Payne, Palmer, Lyden, Hope, T Smith, Pitman.

SUBS: Matthews, Twine, Iandolo, Curran, Hunt, Omotoye, A Grant.

WAFC starting XI: Jones, Darikwa, Wootton, Tilt, Pearce, Merrie, Ojo, Clough, Keane, Gardner, Lang.

SUBS: Evans, Robinson, Johnston, Whelan, Perry, Aasgaard.