The Lancashire club needed three points to stand any chance of getting out of the relegation mire, but with the game finely poised at 0-0, Latics defender Antolin Alcaraz popped up with the winner in the 87th minute.
Rovers boss Steve Kean was clearly upset by the demotion but stated the belief that his side would bounce back to the top flight.
“We’re devastated. The players are numb, because we felt as though we did a very good job tonight,” the Scot told Sky Sports.
“Certainly in the second half, we made enough chances, and we had a very good shout for a penalty with Junior Hoilett.
“The fact we didn’t get a result and take it to the last game is massively disappointing, it’s a great setback for the club.
“I think you could see up until the last second the lads were giving everything, they’ve given a big, big effort to take it to the last day as we did last season.
“You can never fault the players’ effort. We’ve got a very young side.
“We’ve lost a lot of experience and for the future we’re going to have a backbone of young academy players that’ll stand the club proud.
“We’ve got to keep as many players together as possible, a little like West Ham have done, and add a little more experience and then we can bounce back.
“We’ll be back to fight another day,” he concluded.
Wigan have ensured their survival with the win, which means the last relegation place will be between QPR and Bolton.
By Gareth McKnight