Will Grigg returned to haunt his former club as promotion-chasing Wigan eased to a comfortable victory over the Saddlers.
The Northern Ireland international broke the deadlock on 30 minutes with a tap-in before doubling the Latics’ lead with a contentious penalty nine minutes into the second half.
Wigan made the brighter start and twice went close to scoring inside the seventh minute.
First, Grigg wriggled free of two defenders in the area but his goalbound attempt was well blocked by the recovering Jon Guthrie.
The danger wasn’t yet averted, with Lee Evans finding Nick Powell with a lovely lofted pass but, completely unmarked, the former Manchester man sliced his volley well wide.
Paul Cook’s promotion chasing hosts were enjoying plenty of possession without creating too many opportunities.
But the deadlock was broken on the half-hour as former Saddler Grigg netted again his old employers.
Under pressure from Powell, Mark Gillespie could only push Callum Elder’s left-wing cross out to Grigg, who calmly slotted into the bottom corner.
The Greater Manchester club looked to increase their advantage before the break, Michael Jacobs finding Powell, who curled a tame effort into the arms of Gillespie from 20 yards.
Gavin Massey then swung in a menacing centre from the right which was just too strong for Grigg at the far post.
The Saddlers were forced into a half-time change, with Liam Roberts replacing Gillespie, who sustained a head injury as the first goal was scored.
Wigan continued to look the more dangerous in the second half and doubled their lead on 53 minutes.
Grigg latched onto Powell’s lofted pass and was felled by Wilson, who claimed he had won the ball, but referee David Coote pointed to the spot – despite fierce protests from the Walsall players.
Northern Ireland international Grigg stepped up and fired powerfully beyond Roberts.
Walsall’s first real chance of the afternoon came just past the hour, Erhun Oztumer regaining possession and curling wide from the edge of the box, when Daniel Agyei was free to his left.
But the visitors had youngster Liam Roberts to thank for not falling three goals down.
He first produced an impressive reaction save to turn away Powell’s shot with his left leg from a corner.
And the former Chester loanee then stood up strong to deny Sam Morsy when one-on-one after Massey had profited on an Adam Chambers mistake.
The Saddlers began to offer more of an attacking threat in the final ten minutes.
Agyei span superbly away from his man and ran half the length of the pitch before firing a low angled shot just wide of the far post.
And the same man went close again with four to play, seeing a header palmed away by Latics keeper Jamie Jones from a Luke Leahy knock-down.
Team: Gillespie (L Roberts 45’), Devlin, Guthrie, Wilson, Leahy, Chambers, Ismail (Agyei 57’), Edwards, Oztumer, Morris, T Roberts (Bakayoko 88’).
Subs not used: Kinsella, Flanagan, Donnellan, Kouhyar.
Attendance: 8,107 (419 Walsall supporters).