Wolves 0 Wigan Athletic 1

Jake Buxton

Jake Buxton

Centre-back Jake Buxton popped up with an 87th-minute winner to break the hearts of Wolves on Valentine’s night - and breathe new hope into Wigan Athletic’s survival dream.

Up to that point, the visitors had been completely anonymous as an attacking force during a quite dreadful game of football in terms of excitement and entertainment.

But not a single one of the pocket of away fans on the far side will have cared a jot as Buxton leapt to connect with Max Power’s right-wing corner to secure all three points - and reduce the gap to fourth-bottom Burton to just two points.

Goalkeeper Matt Gilks - making his first start for the injured Jakob Haugaard - had earlier kept Latics level with a fine save to deny David Edwards, and there was still time in the four added minutes for Connor Roman to force the ex-Rangers man into another fingertip stop.

Other than that, though, it was a game that will not exactly live long in the memory, aside from the three points for Latics that could prove so important in May.

It took until midway through the first half for either side to even challenge the opposition goal, although Helder Costa’s shot was easily snaffled by Gilks.

Incredibly, that was pretty much it in terms of excitement for the first half, with Costa seeing a shot just before the break charged down by Dan Burn.

Latics made a change at the interval, withdrawing former Wolves man Michael Jacobs and sending on Jamie Hanson, the on-loan Derby midfielder.

And credit Latics for at least showing themselves as an attacking force as they started to ask questions of the home defence.

Power got himself into a promising crossing position down the right, but was disappointingly unable to beat the first man.

Wolves had barely half a shout for a penalty on the hour mark as Costa held off the unnecessary holding of Burn for about 20 yards before eventually going to ground inside the box, although the official waved away his appeals.

The travelling Latics fans were treated to their first sight of Gabriel Obertan with 28 minutes to go, the ex-Manchester United man taking over from Omar Bogle up front alongside Will Grigg.

But neither Obertan nor Grigg were able to get on the end of a teasing cross from Hanson as the game entered the final quarter.

Still Wolves the most likely to score the only goal that would surely prove decisive, with Bright Enobakhard’s cross from the right rolling agonisingly in front of all the home attackers.

The best chance of the game up to that point arrived on 72 minutes, when Gilks had to react smartly to parry out a bullet header from Edwards.

But still Latics remained interested, with right-back Callum Connolly cutting in from the right-hand side before seeing his shot blocked by a home defender.

There was to be a late sting in the tale, though, and it came at the right end as far as the Latics fans on the far side were concerned.

Buxton it was who leapt highest to divert Power’s cross into the bottom corner, leaving Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme with no chance.

And Gilks ensured a rare win bonus on the road by keeping out Roman’s header in the dying seconds to crank up the pressure on the likes of Burton and Blackburn.