Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley was left with a bittersweet feeling after the Sky Bet League One victory at Wigan – which came at a cost.
Andy Cannon grabbed the only goal of the game, just 36 seconds after entering the game as a half-time substitute.
But Cowley’s afternoon – and Pompey’s fourth win on the bounce – was slightly spoiled by the sight of Sean Raggett being helped from the field with eight minutes to go after a head clash with Wigan’s Callum Lang, who was also forced off.
“It’s a cheek injury – it looks serious, unfortunately,” reported Cowley.
“There’s a lot of swelling at the moment, and I don’t want to say too much, but it looks like a fractured cheekbone possibly.
“So that’s a real worry for us, and we know Sean, he’s as tough as they come.
“But it’s a nasty injury and credit to the lads who came on, because I thought that in those last 10 minutes when we were trying to see the game out, they were able to defend our box pretty well.
“As a consequence, we kept a clean sheet and (goalkeeper) Craig (MacGillivray) probably hasn’t had too much to do.
“You don’t want to lose any of your key players.
“We’ve already lost a number in the number-nine position, so it’s not ideal.
“But ultimately, these things happen in football and we try to be a no-excuse mentality, so what we will have to do is find a way.”
Wigan also face an anxious wait to discover the severity of the injury to Lang, who has been their key man since returning from a loan at Motherwell in January.
“We’re not sure yet, he went straight in with the medical team,” admitted boss Leam Richardson, whose side remain second bottom, two points adrift of safety.
“It’s no secret, we are threadbare throughout the squad at the moment.
“And if it is a concussion, he’s obviously going to miss Doncaster on Saturday…and possibly more games.
“He’s clearly a massive player for us, he does such a great job, wherever he’s asked to play for the team.
“He put in a great shift out wide for 70 minutes, we switched him inside and within a minute he’s having to come off the pitch.
“Hopefully he’s OK – and obviously first and foremost it’s his personal welfare we’re worried about.”
Not for the first time this season, Wigan more than matched high-flying opposition – only to be punished for their lack of quality in the final third.
“I genuinely don’t think the results are mirroring the performance levels,” added Richardson.
“I thought in the first half especially we were getting into some fantastic areas in the final third.
“But again we were just missing that little bit of calmness, that little bit of quality – and that little bit of luck.”