Wigan’s relegation confirmed following Reading draw
Wigan were relegated from the Sky Bet Championship after they could only manage a 1-1 draw at relegation rivals Reading.
The visitors had given themselves a glimmer of hope of avoiding the drop when defender Charlie Hughes headed home from close range nine minutes from the end.
But Reading – still favourites to accompany Wigan into League One – levelled in the third minute of stoppage time through Yakou Meite.
The Royals had not won in 11 games and were without joint nine-goal leading marksmen Tom Ince and Andy Carroll – Ince injured and Carroll suspended.
Wigan had been making a late bid to avoid relegation, winning their previous games against Stoke and Millwall, but had to win at the SCL Stadium to stand a chance of retaining their Championship status.
Blackpool went down after their 3-2 home defeat to Millwall on Friday night and Wigan needed a fast start in Berkshire if they were to avoid joining them.
That did not transpire, however, with Reading making most of the early running.
Tom McIntyre tested Wigan goalkeeper Jamie Jones with a long-range effort, which Jones gathered comfortably, and Lucas Joao narrowly failed to latch on to a searching pass from Andy Yiadom.
Latics stayed solid at the back and were almost rewarded from their first foray forward.
Reading failed to clear their area properly and Hughes, up from the back, volleyed narrowly wide.
It was an isolated attack, though, with Reading soon back in command. Jones had to save smartly with his legs to keep out Jeff Hendrick’s attempt from a tight angle.
Reading then almost snatched the lead shortly before the interval but Jones superbly clawed away a goalbound header from Joao at the last moment.
Wigan upped the tempo at the start of the second period, with Max Power crossing from the right and James McClean volleying wildly over at the far post.
Christ Tiehi then made a mazy run from deep inside his own half – only to waste all his good work with a wayward final shot.
Reading responded positively and, following a scramble in the Wigan area, Yiadom cut inside but saw his firm effort blocked.
And as the game became increasingly open, with both sides needing the victory, it was Reading who nearly made the breakthrough – Tom Holmes heading weakly at Jones from a Naby Sarr cross.
But Wigan gave themselves a glimmer of a chance of avoiding the drop in the first minute of time added on following a clever free-kick routine on the left.
McClean crossed to the far post and Hughes rose high to nod downwards and past home goalkeeper Joe Lumley.
But Reading hit back shortly afterwards when, after a frenzied goalmouth scramble, substitute Meite slammed in from close range.