Latics slumped to a record sixth consecutive home defeat against play-off chasing Huddersfield Town.
The teams had seemingly cancelled each other out with ten minutes remaining until Elias Kachunga’s snapshot was only parried by Jussi Jaaskelainen and Nahki Wells followed up to seal the three points for the Terriers.
Latics are now six points from safety and facing the prospect of a disastrously swift return to League One. Huddersfield remain fourth in the Championship table.
Warren Joyce made one change to the team which had drawn at Derby with Nick Powell returning in place of the injured Andy Kellett.
It was a tense encounter as both teams needed the points for very different reasons.
Latics pushed forward from the kick off with Nick Powell prominent in much of their best play. However, both teams struggled to get any shots on target in the opening half.
Wigan’s best chance came around the half-hour mark, when Stephen Warnock’s reverse pass played Yanic Wildschut down the left hand side. The winger put in a dangerous cross but Tareiq Holmes-Dennis did well to provide the interception with Michael Jacobs ready to pounce.
The Terriers were limited to two dangerous crosses and Jaaskelainen was a relative spectator.
The first notable incident of the second half came after 53 minutes when Holmes-Dennis pulled down Wildschut on the halfway line with the Dutchman ready to run free on goal.
Wildschut then probably had Latics’ best chance of the game when Jordi Gomez’s pass set him up but he fired his low shot just wide of the near post.
Latics were pressing in numbers but they lacked the creativity to breakdown a resolute and well drilled Huddersfield defence.
Nick Powell limped off after 75 minutes and was replaced by the returning Ryan Colclough.
Just as the match looked to be heading for a stalemate, Huddersfield stunned Latics with a killer blow.
Kachunga tried a speculative effort from distance and Jaaskelainen appeared to be unsighted and could only parry the ball into the path of the delighted Wells who tapped the ball into the empty net.
Latics threw on extra strikers Adam Le Fondre and Craig Davies but it was too late to make any difference and they tamely slipped to another damaging home defeat.
The club have now reached a new low point in this season’s campaign. Warren Joyce’s record of one win in ten games is a miserable one and Whelan and Sharpe must surely be regretting the sacking of Gary Caldwell.
Joyce now has the difficult task of motivating the players for their FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest before they face Burton Albion in what could be a season defining relegation six-pointer.