Cardiff City were defeated on Sky Bet Championship opening day as Wigan Athletic won 3-2 at the DW Stadium.
Gary Madine led the line for City, while Wigan began the match with two familiar faces in their line-up, in the shape of former Bluebirds, David Marshall and Anthony Pilkington.
The Bluebirds returned to Sky Bet Championship football with a full-blooded affair in the North West - both sides fully committed in the opening exchanges.
While Pilkington shot over from distance for the hosts, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was stretching their back line on the break and causing problems. Wigan just managed to clear one of his early crosses, with Josh Murphy and Madine lurking.
With 20 minutes on the clock, City found their breakthrough and first goal of the 2019/20 campaign.
After Marshall palmed away Madine’s lofted cross, the ball fell to Joe Ralls, who waited for it to drop before firing through a cluster of bodies and into the back of the net.
Aden Flint stepped up with a vital defensive interception shortly after the goal, heading a dangerous cross clear.
The City defence held firm for the remainder of the half, with Murphy going closest at the other end. Marshall did well to gather the ball at his feet after Leandro Bacuna’s superb through-ball.
After the interval, De Cordova-Reid so nearly doubled the advantage, only to see his effort curl inches past the post.
The hosts had a chance to level moments later as they were awarded a somewhat soft penalty - Sean Morrison judged to have brought down Josh Windass in the area. Windass stepped up to take the spot-kick himself, but struck the post.
City were forced into a change between the sticks, as Joe Day came on for the injured Neil Etheridge.
After Morrison headed narrowly wide, Wigan then turned the game on its head with two quick-fire goals either side of the hour-mark. First Michael Jacobs turned home from close range, before Windass found the corner from outside the area.
Those goals saw the match develop into an end-to-end contest, and the Bluebirds were right back in it on 70 minutes as the newly introduced Omar Bogle showed his striker’s instinct to convert De Cordova-Reid’s cross.
However, the scores would stay level for just five minutes, as Lee Evans took aim from distance and curled into the top corner.
While City committed men forward in search of another equaliser, they were unable to find it before the referee brought an end to what was a frenetic opening-day fixture.
Full-Time: Wigan Athletic 3-2 Cardiff City
Wigan Athletic: Marshall, Byrne, Robinson, Macleod (Kipre 77), Fox, Pilkington (Lowe 76), Evans, Windass, Garner (Naismith 73), Jacobs, Dunkley
Subs not used: Jones, Massey, Lang, Gelhardt.
Cardiff City: Etheridge (Day 56), Peltier, Morrison, Flint, Bennett, Bacuna, Ralls, De Cordova-Reid, Mendez-Laing, Murphy (Whyte 76), Madine (Bogle 64).
Subs not used: Vaulks, Nelson, Ward, Hoilett.