Wigan Athletic retained their English Premier League status on the final day of the season with a 1-0 victory at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium.Roberto Martinez’s men knew a win on Sunday would ensure top-flight football for a seventh successive season at the club.
But the visitors made a disappointing start and were outplayed by Stoke in the first 45 minutes.
Tony Pulis’ men had the ball in the back of the Wigan net after 15 minutes, only for Jonathan Walters to be rightly ruled offside.
Moments later a Rory Delap throw caused havoc in the visitors’ defence, and goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi was forced to make an excellent save from an instinctive shot by Kenwyne Jones.
Wigan were left chasing the ball for most of the first half and created no real opportunities to score the goal they desperately needed.
Following the break the visitors came out a better side and started to push into the Stoke half.
Just after the hour mark Connor Sammon forced City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic into a save.
A few minutes later Begovic also denied Tom Cleverley with the substitute through on goal.
Wigan finally made the breakthrough in the 78th minute when their striker partnership combined to give them the lead – Charles N’Zogbia supplied the perfect cross for Hugo Rodallega to head home the most important goal in the Latics’ season.
With other results going against Martinez’s men in a tension-filled afternoon, a draw would not have kept Wigan in the top-flight.
There was a frantic end to the game – Stoke had a penalty appeal turned down, and then Wigan had to endure five minutes of added time.
Despite Stoke’s best efforts they could not get an equaliser, allowing the Wigan players and fans to celebrate their survival at the final whistle.