Latics slumped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers in a relegation six-pointer at Ewood Park.
Manager Warren Joyce selected another defensive line-up with five players across midfield with just one lone striker Omar Bogle and his tactics proved costly as Latics were on the back foot for most of the game.
Rovers controlled the opening half and then went ahead on 58 minutes when Marvin Emnes fired past Matt Gilks at the near post.
Latics showed some attacking intent following a double substitution on 70 minutes when Michael Jacobs and Callum Connolly were replaced by Gabriel Obertan and Will Grigg.
But they were unable to capitalise on some late pressure with Jamie Hanson slicing wide from a good position in added time.
Latics remain in 23rd position in the table, four points behind 21st placed Wolves who have two games in hand. Rovers move out of the bottom three and are now in 20th place.
Joyce made two changes to the starting line-up with Michael Jacobs returned to the team in place of Mikael Mandron and Callum Connolly replacing Max Power with Jamie Hanson moving into midfield.
Latics suffered a major setback in the first 10 minutes when Shaun MacDonald was stretchered off following a collision with Rovers Sam Gallagher.
The away team offered little going forward and seemed to be content to sit back and allow Rovers to control possession.
They did have an opportunity on 21 minutes when Michael Jacobs won the ball on the halfway line and ran at the Rovers defence but his shot went wide of the target.
Sam Morsy then had an attempt which deflected off Darragh Lenihan and went narrowly wide of Jason Steele’s right hand post.
For the most part Rovers were also limited to shots from distance until Dan Burn made a superb interception to deny an effort from Marvin Emnes.
The teams went into the interval level. Rovers were building momentum but Latics had been toothless with Bogle isolated and little support down the flanks.
Surely Joyce would make some changes at half time to rectify the obvious lack of an attacking threat?
No changes for Latics at half time and Rovers immediately threatened with a Feeney shot and a Leniham header. Connolly had a shot on 55 minutes but Steele saved and Rovers broke up the other end and went ahead through Emnes.
Emnes cutting inside, while Connolly was still trying to get back into defence, and firing past Gilks at the near post from the edge of the area.
Substitute Mahoney might have added to the lead on 63 minutes but still no changes from Joyce.
The Wigan manager recovering following an eye operation and sitting in the stand, finally came down to the technical area on 70 minutes to make a double substitution and what a farcical affair it was.
Latics had won a free-kick on the edge of the Rovers area and Bogle was about to take the free-kick but Joyce decided to substitute him at that moment.
The bemused striker ran over to the touchline but the Latics fans showed their displeasure with a cacophony of boos. Joyce changed the substitution and said he wanted to withdraw Ryan Tunnicliffe instead.
The Fulham loanee Tunnicliffe went over to the touchline but he too wasn’t withdrawn, instead it was Michael Jacobs and Callum Connolly who were replaced by Gabriel Obertan and Will Grigg. What a fiasco!
Latics started to look like an attacking force for the first time in the game. Burn had a header just wide from Jamie Hanson’s corner on 77 minutes.
Obertan was providing Latics with much needed width and the winger created a couple of good opportunities which unfortunately came to nothing.
Latics threw bodies forward, Bogle headed just over and then in the 92nd minute Hanson found space to shoot in the box but he sliced his shot well wide from a good position.
It was all too little too late. Joyce’s decision-making had once again been found wanting. The wrong team selection, tactics and farcical late substitutions had contributed to the defeat. If they continue in this way they will go down with a whimper.
It is now time for owner Dave Whelan and Chairman David Sharpe to admit that they made the wrong appointment and make a change in manager. Blackburn have given themselves a chance of survival by changing their manager and appointing Tony Mowbray.
I would not normally call for the sacking of a manager but it is evident to most Latics fans that Joyce is out of his depth at this level and it would be best for the future of the club for him to leave.