Not content with snatching the victory at Sunderland that cost Steve Bruce his job, Wigan Athletic have now made December seem a few degrees chillier for several other Premier League managers.
With this backs-to-the-wall success that left West Bromwich Albion wondering how they had lost, the top flight's serial escapologists climbed not only off the bottom of the table but also above their two Lancashire rivals-in-distress and out of the relegation places.
The architect of only their third League victory was the sprightly Victor Moses. The winger netted the winner at home to Albion 13 months ago but had surprisingly remained goalless in 2011-12.
With great aplomb, though, he plundered a quick equaliser to Stephen Reid's sumptuous free-kick opener, then cleverly won the penalty from the full-back that brought about Jordi Gomez's winner early in the second half; not a bad way for the England Under-21 international to kick off the celebrations of his 21st birthday tomorrow.
"That was a great present," said Wigan's manager Roberto Martinez. "Victor's goal was as good a finish as you will see in this League and he has been very consistent. The quality we have in the squad is something that excites me."
Martinez kept faith in his use of three central defenders and was rewarded with a resilient performance in the face of Albion's often incessant attacking. Gary Caldwell set a captain's example by producing outstanding blocks from what seemed to be goalbound first-half shots, first by Jerome Thomas and then Peter Odemwingie, and Ali Al Habsi's early fingertip on to the top of the bar from Chris Brunt's stinging 25-yarder was a save from the top drawer.
Albion nevertheless seemed to have some control with their 33rd minute breakthrough, achieved after Mike Dean took the advice of his assistant and punished an offence by Caldwell on Odemwingie when Wigan thought they were being awarded a free-kick themselves a few strides away.
Reid, like Moses hitherto an absentee from the scoresheet this season, lolloped up to arc a magnificent 25-yard set-piece over the six-man wall and into the net some three yards from the reach of the static Al Habsi.
A couple of harmless long-range shots by Moses had been the extent of Wigan's goal attempts but the former Crystal Palace player was not long in coming up with a surprise equaliser. Mohamed Diamé's low cross from the left seemed more a case of hit and hope but Youssouf Mulumbu's errant intended clearance was met by a controlling touch and an excellent 15-yard right-foot shot that soared beyond Ben Foster and into the roof of the net.
The game was more than agreeable considering it brought together the division's two lowest-scoring sides and was decided following more quality work from Moses in the 56th minute. As he twisted past Reid for the third time in the same run, he was brought down by the Irishman – the fourth penalty Albion have concededin four home games. Gomez did the rest by coolly rolling in the kick.
Albion have lost four of their last six games and have worryingly been beaten five times at The Hawthorns already. They should still have enough to remain out of harm's way, as underlined when Shane Long brought a second fine save from Al Habsi, Paul Scharner wasted a golden chance by heading wide late on and another substitute, Graham Dorrans, received a yellow card for diving when he thought he had been floored by David Jones in the area. Long also nodded against the post as he was flagged marginally offside and Hodgson was exasperated more than anything else.
"We can't play much better than that, especially the second half," he said. "I can't be angry. My wife slaughters me for complaining about penalties, so I'll leave it to TV to analyse the incidents and come up with the answers."
West Bromwich (4-4-2): Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey; Brunt, Morrison (Scharner, 84), Mulumbu (Dorrans, 66), Thomas; Long, Odemwingie (Tchoyi, 80).
Wigan (3-4-2-1): Al Habsi; Alcaraz (Gohouri, 66), Caldwell, Figueroa; Stam (McArthur, 70), McCarthy, Diame, Jones; Gomez, Moses; Sammon (Di Santo, 80).
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the match: Moses (Wigan)Reuse content