Wigan Athletic 2 Ipswich Town 3
Yanic Wildschut scored a brilliant brace but it wasn't enough to prevent Wigan Athletic crashing to a disastrous 3-2 home defeat to fellow strugglers Ipswich.
Latics had fallen behind after only seven minutes, when the visitors were awarded a ridiculous penalty after Dan Burn clearly won the ball in a challenge with Tom Lawrence just inside the penalty area, only to be penalised by referee Keith Stroud.
Brett Pittman slotted home the penalty, but Latics were level on 34 minutes when Max Power’s fierce free-kick was only parried out by Bartosz Bialkowski and Wildschut slotted home from close range - his side’s first goal at home in 487 minutes.
Wildschut put Latics ahead just after the hour mark when he cut in off the left wing, past three defenders, and fired into the top right-hand corner.
But Latics were unable to score a killer third goal that their overall play probably merited, and were caught at the back when Pittman slotted past Jussi Jaaskelainen for his second.
With a draw of no real use, Latics pushed forward in search of a winning goal, and were caught on the counter with only two minutes left.
David McGoldrick was afforded a free header eight yards out, and he nodded home off the post to give the Tractor Boys all three points - and increase the doom and gloom at the DW Stadium.
Seeking a first win - and a first goal - on home soil since September 27, Latics could hardly have got off to a worse start.
Centre-half Burn, back in the side for the injured Craig Morgan, clearly toed the ball away from an onrushing Lawrence, just outside the area, and couldn’t believe his eyes when the official pointed to the spot.
Pittman didn’t hang around to argue, and put Town ahead with their first shot on goal.
Latics took time to find a way back into the game, and it was almost the half-hour mark before Michael Jacobs crossed for Will Grigg to send a tame header straight at the goalkeeper.
But the home side did find their way through on 34 minutes, when Bialkowski did brilliantly to deny Power, only for Wildschut to convert the rebound from close range.
Power, enjoying arguably his best performance of the campaign, then embarked on a surging run before seeing his shot tipped round the post by Bialkowski.
Latics picked up where they’d left off after the restart, with Wildschut seeing one shot well saved and another fly just wide of the mark.
A left-wing cross from Andy Kellett was only palmed away by Bialkowski into the path of Jake Buxton, who couldn’t get any power on his header, which went straight at the goalkeeper.
Town were then indebted to Christophe Berrra, who just about succeeded in scooping the ball away from an onrushing Grigg after more great work down the left from Wildschut.
The goal that had been coming finally arrived on 62 minutes, when Wildschut cut in from the left and sent an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.
And it was almost 3-1 moments later, when Bialkowski spilled a long-range shot from Power, with the ball spinning goalwards, only for the goalkeeper to scramble back and gather just before it crossed the line.
However, with Latics banging on the door, they were caught at the other end when Pittman beat Jaaskelainen from 10 yards for the equaliser.
Town were almost in again two minutes later, with David Perkins doing amazingly well to get a flailing heel in the way of a pass in to an unmarked McGoldrick.
It was end-to-end stuff at this point, with Wildschut firing wide for Latics and Pittman blazing well over as he looked for a hat-trick of his own.
Latics suffered a blow in the final quarter when Perkins pulled up lame with a hamstring strain, with Nathan Byrne sent on in his place.
But still the home side pushed forward, with Wildschut finding Stephen Warnock at the far post, and the skipper’s shot deflecting off an unsuspecting defender as it arrowed towards the far corner.
With five minutes to go, Wildschut sped past two defenders and fired across an inviting cross that Grigg can’t quite get on the end of.
There was to be a winning goal, but sadly it came at the wrong end, to ensure Latics will spend Christmas second-bottom of the Championship - and plenty of work to do in the New Year to avoid an immediate return to League One.