There is still time left for Wigan Athletic to avoid the drop, but it appears that their magic has finally run out. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for them late in the second half of their match against Swansea City, who defeated them 3-2 to keep the Latics in the bottom three.
The game was a wide-open, back-and-forth affair from the first whistle. Swansea were on the front foot early, but Wigan created the game's first good chance in the 9th minute when Arouna Kone forced Michel Vorm into a save. In the 19th minute, Swansea were gifted an indirect free kick from 10 yards after a Wigan backpass, but Ashley Williams smashed his free kick attempt well over the crossbar.
Things slowed down a bit as the half wore on, but Roger Espinoza took advantage of a chance in first half stoppage time to send Wigan into the changing room with a 1-0 lead. Vorm went up and punched to beat Kone to a cross, but he only knocked the ball as Espinoza. The Honduran international wound up and struck a half-volley to the near post from 15 yards that took a couple of bounces before skipping into the net.
As entertaining as the first half was, the second half was even better and got off to a roaring start. Swansea equalized just five minutes into the period, thanks to Angel Rangel. He was set up by Wayne Routledge with a great diagonal, and the Spaniard hit a great first time shot low and to the far post past Joel Robles.
It only took three minutes for Wigan to respond and take the lead back, through a couple of very unlikely creators. Gary Caldwell set up the goal with a through ball to James McCarthy, who made a great run from deep in midfield. His finish was a composed one, not dissimilar to Rangel's in technique, quickness and placement, and Wigan's hopes of staying up were restored.
Sadly for Latics supporters, their dreams were quickly dashed. Swansea's equalizer was extremely lucky, but Wigan should have easily prevented the winner and have no one to blame but themselves for dropping all three points. Itay Scheckter scored his first goal of the season in the 59th minute, just before he was going to be substituted. He took a highly speculative shot from 20 yards that hit the back of a Wigan defender, changing its path considerably before it floated by Robles.
The winner came from another unlikely source, Dwight Tiendalli. Pablo Hernandez set up the chance with a cross, but both Shaun Maloney and James MacArthur had multiple chances to clear. MacArthur's first effort to get the ball away failed miserably and Maloney was found frozen in his tracks as Tiendalli pounced and knocked the ball into the net.
Things finished on a sour note for both sides, with a pair of injuries. A nasty 50-50 challenge saw Michel Vorm pick up a seemingly serius injury that required his very careful and measured removal from the pitch. Shortly afterwards, Wigan subbed on Ronnie Stam with their last change of the match, but he picked up an ankle injury less than 30 seconds after entering the game and had to exit instantly. With only 10 men for the final 10 minutes plus stoppage time, Wigan never looked like finding an equalizer.