WIGAN Athletic moved a huge step nearer towards the ignominy of relegation to League One with another damaging home defeat signalling the end of Malky Mackay’s troubled tenure.
Eight points now separate Latics from the safety mark, with only five games of a catastrophic campaign remaining.
And they will finish the campaign without Mackay, whose departure was confirmed after the game - moments after he had concluded his post-match media duties.
Looking for a first home win in 18, Latics had started brightly but again lacked the quality in the final third to trouble the scorers.
James McClean came closest to opening the scoring when he saw a close-range header somehow kept out by Lee Grant at full stretch.
Having dusted themselves off at the break - and sent on top scorer Chris Martin from the bench - there was only one winner in the second half.
Martin broke the deadlock within six minutes of being on the pitch, an emphatic strike from 12 yards that flew past Ali Al Habsi.
Then, with nine minutes left, Darren Bent doubled the advantage after Jason Pearce was unable to clear a cross from Johnny Russell.
Despite a lively showing from Kim Bo-Kyung, Latics were unable to grab anything in the way of consolation.
And they are now facing the prospect of having to win perhaps four of their last five matches to be in with a shout of staying up.