Wigan Athletic 2 (McCarthy 60, N'Zogbia 73)
The atmosphere at Molineux was as gloomy as the weather after Wolves had slipped to their sixth home League defeat of the season with Wigan scoring two without reply against a lacklustre home side.
But the game wasn't without its controversial incidents and referee Howard Webb, the official who missed a blatant penalty offence when Portmouth visited Molineux in October, once again did little to endear himself to home support.
Mick McCarthy had made just two changes to the team that started the FA Cup tie at Tranmere. Marcus Hahnemann returned in goal in place of Wayne Hennessey, who was named as a substitute, and Kevin Doyle came in for Chris Iwelumo who also took a place on the bench.
Wigan kicked-off attacking the North Bank end but the first threats came from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Doyle but both overhit crosses from the right side of the Wigan area.
Then Paul Scharner's foul on Nenad Milijaš just outside the 'D' presented the Serb with a chance from the resultant free-kick but his effort deflected off the defensive wall flying two yards wide.
An underhit backpass by Jody Craddock let Hugo Rodallega in but Hahnemann had spotted the danger and he managed to boot the ball away before the Columbian striker could capitalise.
Craddock then blocked a drive from Charles N'Zogbia who had cut into the box and slipped past Stephen Ward before shooting.
Richard Stearman, for a late challenge on Scharner, and then Hendry Thomas for a foul on Ward, were both booked within a few seconds of one another.
A poor pass from Kevin Foley allowed N'Zogbia the chance of a shot at goal but Hahnemann made a smart save at the expense of a corner.
Hahnemann then saved a low, 25-yard free-kick from Thomas clutching onto the ball at the second attempt before Wanderers had the chance of taking a 19th minute lead.
Milijaš slipped a superb ball through a crowded box to Ebanks-Blake but, with only Chris Kirkland to beat, his shot went inches wide.
Mario Melchiot tripped Matt Jarvis just to the left of the Wigan box but the winger's free-kick drifted over everyone and out for a goalkick on the far side.
Ebanks-Blake did well to get his head to Ward's 29th minute cross but his effort brushed the side netting as it went behind before Rodallega was thwarted by a combination of Hahnemann and Michael Mancienne when he homed in on a long clearance.
The American keeper then made a good save from Rodallega who made the most of Mancienne failing to get to grips with a bouncing ball.
Luck was on Wolves' side when Rodallega hit a 25-yard shot that hit the inside of the post and bounced away before being cleared by a defender.
In the 38th minute Craddock was too high with a first time shot after the ball broke to him following a failed scissors kick attempt from Doyle.
The game erupted in stoppage time when Stearman was sent off after conceding a penalty. There didn't seem to be any danger as the defender and James McCarthy chased Mancienne's attempted clearance which looked to be going out for a corner.
But Stearman tugged at McCarthy's shirt and the referee immediately pointed to the spot before waving a second yellow at the Wolves man. It was a few seconds before the referee appeared to realise that he had already booked Stearman, and he then sent him off.
Rodallega took the spot kick but Hahnemann dived to his right to pull off a tremendous save. The loose ball ran to Scharner who somehow screwed the ball wide - injuring himself in the process.
Half-Time: Wolves 0 Wigan 0
Dave Jones replaced Jarvis at the start of the second-half which was eight minutes old when Rodallega lashed a first time shot into Hahnemann's arms after N'Zogbia's low cross took a deflection.
Milijaš was well off target with a long distance effort before Wigan moved into a fortuitous lead on the hour mark.
N'Zogbia shot was blocked and Rodallega's follow up was also blocked, by Hahnemann. But the ball ran into the path of McCartney who would, in all probability, have had his shooting chance denied by Jones.
But the midfielder's path to the ball was blocked by the referee - who had already incurred the wrath of the crowd following the sending off and some curious decisions. McCarthy had a free run at the ball and he made no mistake scoring with a low shot.
The numbers on the field were evened up midway through the half when Thomas was shown a second yellow after clattering into Ward on the touchline.
Iwelumo went on in place of Ebanks-Blake before Karl Henry was yellow carded for a foul on Jordi Gomez.
There could be no arguing with Wigan's second goal, in the 73rd minute. Mancienne and Rodallega were tussling for the ball on the edge of the home area when N'Zogbia nipped in to take possession. He ran past Craddock before scoring with a shot that went in off the post.
Kirkland turned an Iwelumo volley around the post and, after a final Wolves change saw Andy Surman replacing Milijaš, the keeper held a Craddock header following a Foley cross.
Ward just failed to get a foot to the ball when a Surman corner travelled through the six-yard box, and the Irish defender was booked a minute later for pulling back N'Zogbia.
More bookings followed - Doyle for a foul on N'Zogbia and Gomez for a challenge on Doyle.
Then, deep into stoppage time, Hahnemann confirmed his Man of the Match status by saving from Rodallega who had run unchallenged from the centre circle.
Wolves: Hahnemann, Foley, Ward, Milijaš (Surman 82), Mancienne, Craddock, Stearman, Henry (capt), Doyle, Ebanks-Blake (Iwelumo 68), Jarvis (Jones 45).
Unused subs: Hennessey, Elokobi, Berra, Vokes.
Bookings: Stearman (13, 45 - fouls), Henry (70 - foul), Ward (87 - foul), Doyle (88 - foul).
Sending-Off: Stearman (45 - two bookable offences).
Wigan: Kirkland, Caldwell, Thomas, Scharner (Gomez 47), N'Zogbia, Bramble, Rodallega, McCarthy (Sinclair 90), Melchiot (capt) (Boyce 45), Diame, Figueroa.
Unused subs: Amaya, Watson, Scotland, Stojkovic.
Bookings: Thomas (13, 67 - fouls), N'Zogbia (73 - overcelebrating goal), Gomez (90 - foul).
Sending-Off: Thomas (67 - two bookable offences).
Referee: H. Webb.