Swansea derailed Wigan’s survival bid with a thrilling 3-2 victory at the DW Stadium after goals from Angel Rangel, Itay Shechter and Dwight Tiendalli.
The defeat leaves Wigan three points from safety with just two games to play.
Wigan took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Roger Espinoza found the net with a scuffed shot but were pegged back just after the interval when Rangel’s volley from a tight angle struck the inside of the post and rolled over the line.
The home side regained the advantage when James McCarthy latched onto a Gary Caldwell through ball, but lost their advantage for the second time when Shechter’s deflected effort flew past Joel in the Wigan goal.
And when Tiendalli prodded home after some last ditch defending Wigan were left needing a comeback not even they could muster, leaving their Premier League status hanging by a thread.
Despite having an FA Cup Final in four days, Roberto Martinez fielded a full strength team in the knowledge that three points would see his side move out of the relegation zone.
Wigan started nervously and almost went behind inside three minutes when Espinoza’s wayward pass was latched on by Wayne Routledge, but the winger’s shot was beaten away by Joel at his near post.
And the home side presented Swansea with another chance 10 minutes later when Joel elected to pick up Gary Caldwell’s back-pass, but Williams inexplicably blazed over the bar from the resulting indirect free-kick with a line of Wigan players guarding the goalline.
The Latics soon settled down and started enjoying a spell of possession but failed to create any clear chances as the first half fizzled out.
But in injury time a hopeful ball towards Kone was only half dealt with by Vorm, his punch carrying the ball towards Espinoza on the edge of the area with the Honduran managing to scuff in a volley at the near post.
It was a deserved lead for Wigan at the break but they threw away their advantage straight after the restart when Rangel volleyed in Wayne Routledge’s cross as Swansea started to play with more ambition.
The game was being played at a frantic pace and Wigan retook the lead when James McCarthy latched onto a Gary Caldwell through ball and fired past Vorm.
McArthur then missed a fantastic chance when played in by Kone before Swansea equalised for the second time when Caldwell needlessly gave away the ball and Itay Shechter’s shot flew in via a deflection.
Vorm tipped over a Caldwell header as Wigan desperately sought a third goal, but it was Swansea who scored the crucial fifth when Tiendalli tucked home after chaos in the Wigan ranks.
A nasty collision between Vorm and Ben Davies resulted in a lengthy delay, with the Dutch keeper being carried off on a stretcher to a standing ovation with ten minutes to play.
Nine minutes of injury time were awarded following Vorm’s injury but Wigan struggled to get the ball into the Swansea final third.
They almost claimed a dramatic equaliser when keeper Joel came forward for a last minute free-kick and hooked a cross in towards Kone but the striker’s header was saved.
Fans of Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland, Southampton, Aston Villa and Fulham could breathe a sigh of relief at the full-time whistle as Swansea held on to claim a first away win in 2013.
After their FA Cup Final date with Manchester City at the weekend, Wigan face a tricky trip to Arsenal before a potential relegation decider at home to Aston Villa on the final day of the season.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Angel Rangel. Solid at the back and scored a cracking volley to get Swansea level at 1-1.
Wigan – Robles 6, Boyce 6, Caldwell 5, Watson 6, Scharner 6, Espinoza 7, McArthur 7, McCarthy 7, McManaman 6, Maloney 6, Kone 7. Subs: Di Santo 5, Gomez 5, Stam N/A.
Swansea – Vorm 6, Tiendalli 7, Monk 6, Williams 6, Davies 7, Britton 6, De Guzman 6, Rangel 7, Pablo Hernandez 6, Routledge 6, Shechter 7. Subs: Tremmel 6, Dyer 5, Agustein 5.
- Sports & Recreation
- Gary Caldwell
- Angel Rangel
- Itay Shechter
- Wayne Routledge
- Roger Espinoza
- Dwight Tiendalli
- James McCarthy