Two perfectly crafted free-kicks by Jermaine Pennant helped Wigan to win this important relegation six pointer 2-1 at Rotherham.
Pennant superbly curled his first free-kick into the top left corner to put Wigan ahead, and then five minutes later found the other corner with an equally stunning set piece.
The Millers managed to reduce the deficit on the stroke of half time when Matt Derbyshire headed home from Ben Pringle’s cross.
Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi produced an incredible double save to deny the home team and Latics held on to reduce the gap between the two sides to six points.
Malky Mackay made one change to his starting line up against Leeds United with Ali Al-Habsi replacing Scott Carson in-goal and what an important decision it turned out to be.
The Millers made the early running and pursued a course of aerial bombardment of the Latics goal. Paul Green had three early chances for the home team but the Wigan defence stood firm.
The game turned in Wigan’s favour on 31 minutes when James McClean was brought down by Kirk Broadfoot on the edge of the Rotherham area.
Pennant produced a stunning piece of skill when he stepped up and lifted the ball over the wall and into the top left corner with the Rotherham keeper Adam Collin left rooted to the spot.
Five minutes later Pennant incredibly repeated the act from a similar position but this time placing the ball into the opposite corner of the net.
The Rotherham players were initially shocked by the two free-kicks but they gradually worked themselves back into the game.
Paul Green blasted just over the crossbar and on the verge of half time they pulled a goal back when Matt Derbyshire headed past Al-Habsi at the far post following Ben Pringle’s cross.
Rotherham continued to produce a series of high balls into the Wigan area at the start of the second half, but the Latics defence held firm with Harry Maguire and Jason Pearce outstanding.
William Kvist replaced Sheyi Ojo in midfield on 62 minutes as Mackay tried to stem the tide of Rotherham attacks.
Keeper Al Habsi had to be at his best to save Kari Arnasson’s header from the centre of the penalty area.
Don Cowie replaced Pennant on 75 minutes but Latics continued to be penned back in their own half. William Kvist did have a rare opportunity for Wigan in the 85th minute when his deflected effort looked to have evaded the Rotherham keeper, but Collin just managed to tip the ball over the crossbar at the last moment.
Rotherham threw more players forward in a desperate attempt to equalise and it looked like they had done so until Al-Habsi came to Wigan’s rescue. The Oman international keeper produced a miraculous double save to deny substitute Jordan Bowery. First he dived full length to his left to tip the ball onto the post and then get up for the rebound and dived to his right to deny what looked like a certain goal.
Despite an agonising 5 minutes of injury time, Latics held on to record their fourth straight away win and move six points from safety.
The result maintains Wigan’s hopes of Championship survival but they must now capitalise on the excellent away form with home victories against Watford and Bolton Wanderers.
Don’t let it slip now lad’s, you’ve got the wind in your sails. We’re right behind you so kick on!