Wigan Athletic 0
Wolves 1 (Afobe 25)
Wolves’ hopes of a play-off place and Wigan’s Championship status are still alive but both teams will need to win their final League fixture of the campaign and rely on slip ups from other clubs after this battle at the DW Stadium was decided by Benik Afobe’s first-half header.
There were three changes to the team that had drawn with Ipswich Town. Tomasz Kuszczak and Ethan Ebanks-Landell came in for the injured Carl Ikeme and Danny Batth respectively, whilst Rajiv van La Parra dropped down to the bench with Jack Price returning to the starting line-up.
Wigan kicked-off attacking the end of the ground that housed almost 4,500 travelling supporters.
Two early corners went the way of the home side. Both were taken by Jermaine Pennant with Ebanks-Landell clearing the first and Dave Edwards the second.
The Latics had made a lively start and they threatened again following a long throw which fell to James McClean who turned and screwed his shot wide.
Price slipped and conceded possession to Pennant and his deflected shot was turned over the bar by Kuszczak. This time it was Kevin McDonald’s turn to head the corner clear.
Kim Bo-kyung took advantage of a kind bounce as he ran into the area before hitting a shot that was both high and wide as Wigan continued to dominate the attacking play.
It was very much against the run of play that Wolves moved into a 25th minute lead in what was their first attack of note. McDonald spread the ball into the path of Scott Golborne who was fouled by Emmerson Boyce just to the left of the home box.
Bakary Sako drove across a superb free-kick and Afobe ran in to power a close range header into the net.
McClean dragged a low shot wide from 18-yards and then Boyce was too high with an effort from virtually the same spot.
In the second minute of stoppage time Richard Stearman headed out another corner from Pennant and Wanderers went into the break holding a narrow advantage.
Half-Time: Wigan 0 Wolves 1
Two minutes into the second half yet another Pennant corner almost led to a Wigan equaliser with McClean’s glancing header just clearing Kuszczak’s crossbar.
Wolves’ first corner of the game came in the 49th minute after Dominic Iorfa’s cross had been headed behind but Sako’s flag-kick was headed out by the home defence.
McClean was close once more as he turned Jason Pearce’s low cross wide at the near post before Wigan made a change with Marc-Antoine Fortune replacing William Kvist.
Afobe found the back of the net again in the 57th minute but he was ruled to have used his hands as he controlled McDonald’s lofted through ball.
Gaetan Bong was booked for fouling Iorfa and after Scott Carson had managed to clear as Nouha Dicko homed in on goal, the Wolves striker was fouled by McClean to the right of the box. After a brief bout of pushing and shoving, both players were shown the yellow card although it seemed harsh on the Wolves man.
Sako’s free-kick was headed behind for a corner and when Sako took it, Edwards’ flicked header drew a fine save from Carson for another corner that was again taken by Sako with Dicko heading wide.
James Perch did beat Kuszczak in the 74th minute but the offside flag had been raised before he struck the ball.
Stearmen was booked for a late challenge on substitute Billy Mckay before Kenny Jackett made a double change with Kortney Hause and Kevin Doyle taking the places of Sako and Dicko.
There were loud home appeals for a penalty for hands against Stearman but the referee was right up with play and he waved aside the claims.
Carson needed two attempts to hold on to a low drive from McDonald and then, deep into stoppage time with Wigan throwing everything forward, the game erupted as McClean clattered into Stearman who was attempting to clear.
Both players needed treatment but when the Wigan man got to his feet he was shown a second yellow and then a red.
Latics: Carson, Maguire, McClean, Pennant (Mckay 68), Bo-kyung, Boyce, Bong, Perch (capt), Pearce, Kvist (Fortune 56), Chow (Cowie 79).
Unused subs: Al Habsi, Taylor, McCann, Barnett.
Bookings: Boyce (24 – foul), Bong (60 – foul), McClean (65 – ungentlemany conduct), Fortune (90 – foul).
Sending-Off: McClean (90+5 – foul, second bookable offence).
Wolves: Kuszczak, Golbourne, Iorfa, Edwards, Stearman (capt), Ebanks-Landell, Price, McDonald, Dicko (Doyle 82), Afobe, Sako (Hause 82).
Unused subs: Flatt, Doherty, Henry, van La Parra, Jacobs.
Bookings: Dicko (65 – ungentlemanly conduct), Stearman (81 – foul), Iorfa (90+5 – ungentlemanly conduct).
Referee: J. Linington.
Attendance: 16,810 (4,478 away supporters).