Keane grabs Wigan lifeline in survival battle with winning strike at Stoke
Will Keane’s 10th league goal of the season gave Wigan hope in their battle to avoid Sky Bet Championship relegation with a battling 1-0 away win over Stoke.
The striker bagged a 54th-minute winner for the Latics as they climbed to within five points of getting out of the relegation zone.
Manager Shaun Maloney’s side still have three fixtures to secure safety, but three of the four teams directly above them in the table have games in hand in what promises to be a gripping finale.
Stoke boss Alex Neil made six changes to his side at the bet365 Stadium, with two of those enforced as the home side went in search of a much-needed win.
And they could have been ahead after only a minute when Nick Powell collected a Josh Tymon cross and refused to pull the trigger with the goal at his mercy.
Instead his pass to Lewis Baker was intercepted and the visitors gratefully thwarted the danger.
Tymon had a chance of his own soon after, but he fired wide from 25 yards out.
Jordan Thompson shot wide as the Potters pressed without reward for an opener, before Scotland striker Jacob Brown was forced off injured shortly after the half-hour mark and the Potters were forced to shuffle their pack.
Substitute forward Tyrese Campbell nearly had an immediate impact as he went within a whisker of equalising just two minutes later, but he curled agonisingly wide with a sweet left-footed strike.
Powell headed wide on the stroke of half-time but neither side could find a breakthrough.
But it was Keane who broke the deadlock against the run of play for the Latics.
He smashed home with a sweet strike and then shot off target with a decent chance for the visitors shortly after the hour mark.
Midfielder Tendayi Daerika should have scored five minutes later, volleying horribly wide from a great position as the chance went begging for a second goal, and with it a chance to put the contest to bed.
Morgan Fox also wasted a glorious chance, firing wide for the hosts with 15 minutes left as the Potters slumped to a third successive home loss.
And in the last minute of the game Fox had a shot cleared off the goalline as Wigan held on for a famous win.