Wigan are on the brink of relegation after ending up on the wrong side of a five-goal thriller in their much fabled game in hand against Swansea at the DW Stadium.
Roberto Martinez’s would have found themselves outside of the bottom three and up to 15th in the Premier League had they won, but are now counting the cost of twice throwing away the lead at home.
After a nervy start the Latics soon relaxed into their usual rhythm and went close to breaking the deadlock when Arouna Kone let fly from 25-yards and forcing a smart stop from Michel Vorm.
At the other end Ashley Williams blasted an indirect free-kick over from eight-yards after goalkeeper Joel Robles picked up captain Gary Caldwell’s back pass under pressure from Wayne Routledge, to the bewilderment of the home support.
However, after a period of sustained pressure, Wigan finally made the breakthrough on the stroke of half time as Roger Espinoza smartly volleyed Vorm’s weak punch in at the near post. But their lead didn’t last and four minutes after the interval Routledge floated a cute ball towards Angel Rangel and the Swansea full-back dispatched an expert strike across goal and in off the post from a tight angle.
Back came the hosts and they regained the advantage when James McCarthy latched on to Caldwell’s defence splitting pass to finish neatly past Vorm. James McArthur then wasted a golden opportunity to make it 3-1 before Itay Schecter came alive on the edge of the penalty area and send a deflected strike past Robles to level for the visitors.
And with 15 minutes to go Dwight Tiendalli capitalised on a catastrophic defensive mix-up in the Wigan six-yard area to steal in and poke home the winner for Michael Laudrup’s men. Vorm pulled off a stunning point black save to deny Caldwell before being carried off on a stretched after a clash of heads with team-mate Ben Davies.
Unfortunately for Wigan they couldn’t find the equaliser in the nine minutes of time added on and moved a step closer to Championship football next season.
Roberto Martinez post-match… “The manner of the goals we conceded does make it more frustrating. I thought everything was under control in the first half. But the second half and the goals we gave away meant it became a very, very difficult game to play.”
Michael Laudrup post-match… “It wasn’t a great football game, technically speaking, because there was too much at stake for Wigan. I think coming back twice in an away game to Wigan like this, I can be very, very pleased.”
Good night for…Dwight Tiendalli: A thoroughly good shift from the Swansea full-back, who made a crucial block on Maloney in the first half, before popping up to notch the winner after the break.
Bad night for…James McArthur: Couldn’t repeat his heroics from Saturday as the game passed him by in midfield, as did a glorious chance to put Wigan 3-1 up in the second half prior to their meltdown.