A dramatic 96th winner by Nick Powell kept Wigan Athletic’s Championship survival hopes alive against bottom club Rotherham United.
A moment of madness by Rotherham keeper Lewis Price, who bizarrely attempted to first strangle and then jump on the back of Powell, gave Latics a late free-kick and Powell duly obliged with a stunning strike.
Danny Ward had given the Millers an early lead before Gabriel Obertan equalised with his first goal for Latics.
Anthony Forde restored the Millers lead on 61 minutes, but four minutes later Alex Gilbey slotted past Price to draw the teams level.
After much time wasting by Rotherham it was perhaps only fitting that Latics produced the winning goal from Powell in the sixth minute of added time.
Graham Barrow made three changes to the team defeated at Ipswich with Jakob Haugaard surprisingly replacing in-form Matt Gilks in goal, while Alex Gilbey and Gabriel Obertan replaced David Perkins and Jake Buxton.
Latics had a good shout for a penalty in the opening few minutes, when Michael Jacobs went down under a challenge from Joe Newell, but the referee Scott Duncan waved away appeals.
Rotherham then went close following a mistake by Haugaard. The Stoke City loanee keeper took far too long to control the ball on his goal line and Danny Ward dispossessed him, but with the goal at his mercy the striker somehow failed to hit the target. A big let off for Latics.
It was then Latics turn to attack and Ryan Colclough set up Max Power on the edge of the box but the midfielder’s effort went just wide of the target.
It was end-to-end stuff and Rotherham threatened with Newell firing straight at Haugaard, and they went ahead when Darnell Fisher crossed and Ward finished clinically from close range on 28 minutes.
However, the lead was to last only five minutes as Latics broke quickly through Gilbey, and Colclough was able to lay the ball off to Obertan who made no mistake from ten yards out.
Latics looked likely to add to the score sheet when Jacobs threatened but his shot was deflected for a corner and then Obertan had an effort which Price did well to save on his line.
The teams went into the interval level, but Latics would need to up their game considerably if they were going to secure the vital three points.
After an even opening to the second half the Millers regained the lead on 61 minutes following a mistake by Haugaard. The former Denmark U20 international allowed Forde’s speculative effort from 20 yards slip through his hands.
However, the Dane came to the rescue two minutes later when he produced a superb full length save to deny a header from Carlton Morris.
The save was to prove crucial as Latics broke down the other end and drew level through Alex Gilbey.
Obertan delivered the ball from the left and the unmarked Gilbey took a touch before slotting the ball past Price on 65 minutes.
Gilbey might have had a second soon afterwards but Price saved well and at the other end Haugaard made another crucial save, this time from Ward on 72 minutes.
Nick Powell came on for Gilbey with fifteen minutes remaining and his return was to prove the turning point for Latics.
Powell has great ability when he decides to show it and it is such a pity that he has been injured for most of this season.
Powell was soon in the thick of the action and his header from a Jamie Hanson free-kick was well tipped over by Price and then Dan Burn managed to get on the end of a Hanson cross in the 89th minute but the effort flew agonisingly over the bar.
Latics were given five minutes of additional time to try and extend their season and they went very close when Burn broke and set up Morsy, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked, and the subsequent follow up was cleared off the line by Fisher.
It looked as though Latics’ last chance might have gone, but they were soon given a lifeline in bizarre circumstances.
Powell stood in front of Price’s drop-kick as he cleared the ball but the keeper took objection and as Powell turned away Price incredibly tried to strangle him and then jump on his back.
After advice from the linesman and fourth official the referee awarded a direct free-kick on the edge of the Rotherham area. Both Price and Powell were awarded yellow cards but surely Price should have been dismissed for his actions.
However, justice was done as Powell stepped up and blasted his free-kick past the defensive wall and Price to give Latics a last gasp victory.
The result keeps Latics’ slim survival hopes alive but they remain seven points from safety with only five games remaining.