As Wolves fans entered the DW stadium and took their seats, they will have been apprehensive to say the least. Here they were, early kick-off on a Saturday, vying to pick up three points against a Wigan side that desperately needed to get some consistency of their own.
Skip forward two hours, the same fans now leaving the DW and making their way back to the West Midlands with a dejected feeling and thought in the back of their mind: "Can we stay up on this form?"
The optimists amongst them will believe a change of fortune is just around the corner; the pessimists are already worried about their meeting with West Ham at Molineux after the international break.
Things didn't get off to a great start for Wolves; the usually reliable, extremely physical Karl Henry was sent off after 15 minutes. As the referee brandished the red card high into the sky, everyone involved with Wolves knew they were in for a long day.
The expected Wigan onslaught, however, was curtailed by some spirited Wolves defending. They got men behind the ball and frustrated Wigan into taking ambitious, speculative shots from distance that rarely troubled Marcus Hahnemann.
Roberto Martinez may have had the numerical advantage, but his attacking players showed their limitations by failing to break down Wolves' stubborn defence and going in 0-0 at the break.
McCarthy responded to this early pressure by taking Steven Fletcher off and putting on the more defensively-minded George Elokobi. Unfortunately, the change was rendered futile in the 65th minute, and there wasn't a thing Wolves could do about it.
Dave Edwards pulled Charles N'Zogbia down just outside the area and from the resulting free kick Gomez curled home a sublime shot into Hahnemann's top right corner.
From that moment on, it became more a question of how many Wigan would win by. N'Zogbia challenged the Wolves 'keeper again from 25 yards before Di Santo hit a beautiful, dipping volley that the American could only tip over the bar.
McCarthy went for broke, bringing on strike duo Ebanks-Blake and Marcus Bent - but to no avail as N'Zogbia broke away and played Rodallega in. The striker was lucky as it was actually Christophe Berra's attempted clearance that ricocheted off his foot and into the goal.
Losing at the DW is something that could easily contribute to Wolves being relegated at the end of the season; an event that would seem even more likely if they lose to West Ham in two weeks time.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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