Wigan Athletic’s 2012-2013 campaign will be one to remember after the club clinched their first-ever FA Cup trophy with 1-0 victory over Manchester City at Wembley.
But it will also be one to forget, as the Latics’ saw their eight-year stint in the Premier League come to an end after an 18th place finish sealed their relegation into the Championship.
Here MM looks back over the highs and lows of the season for Roberto Martinez and his men.
Wigan kicked off their Premier League campaign by hosting Chelsea at the DW Stadium, but they were undone by two goals in the first ten minutes from Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard.
Their next game away at Southampton saw this score-line reversed in Wigan’s favour as second-half goals from Franco di Santo and Arouna Kone put the club’s first points on the board.
And a League Cup second round trip to Nottingham Forest ended the month on a high as Mauro Boselli, Maynor Figueroa, Jordi Gomez and Callum McManaman sealed a 4-1 victory.
One point from four league matches made for a frustrating month, as Wigan only added to their points tally with a 2-2 draw at home to Stoke City.
A 4-0 defeat to Manchester United followed, then came a 2-1 loss away at Fulham, before Wigan’s pointless run continued at Sunderland thanks to a single Steven Fletcher goal.
But the League Cup offered some hope as Wigan knocked out fellow Premier League side West Ham United with another 4-1 victory to continue their second round good form.
An unlikely league victory against Everton was snatched from Wigan by former star Leighton Baines’ penalty in the games’ closing minutes, but Wigan picked up a point for battling to 2-2.
But this was followed by a narrow 2-1 loss to Swansea City, as two goals in as many minutes from Pablo Hernandez and Miguel Michu could only be answered by Emmerson Boyce.
Wigan’s first home win of the season finally came against West Ham as Ivan Ramis and James McArthur gave the hosts the advantage, with James Tomkins adding a late consolation.
Once again, Wigan saw out the month with a League Cup tie but this time Bradford proved trickier opponents as they held the hosts to a stalemate before clinching victory 4-2 on penalties.
A busy schedule of five league games in a month started with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur, and Wigan pulled off a shock triumph as Ben Watson scored the only goal of the game.
But they could not manage three consecutive league wins as West Brom edged a narrow match with goals from James Morrison and Gary Caldwell’s own goal overcoming by Kone’s close-range finish.
A 3-0 thrashing at Liverpool came in the middle of the month but Wigan responded with three of their own against Reading as Jordi Gomez’s stoppage-time goal sealed his hat-trick and the win.
Another visit from a top-four club saw Wigan put up a strong fight against 2012 Premier League champions Manchester City before Mario Balotelli and James Milner stole the points.
A packed Christmas schedule threw six leagues games at Wigan, who slipped further towards the bottom of the table after taking four points from a possible 12.
A visit to Newcastle United gave the Latics their second 3-0 defeat in three weeks but the club picked up a valuable point against fellow relegation battlers Queens Park Rangers thanks to James McCarthy’s double.
But more league misery followed and Martinez’s men suffered two narrow defeats as late goals sealed their 2-1 loss at Norwich and 1-0 defeat when they hosted Arsenal.
And Wigan could not build on their draw with Everton in October as Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka secured victory for the Toffees despite Kone’s late consolation at Goodison Park.
But the month ended on a high as Wigan put three past Aston Villa as Ramis, Boyce, Kone found the back of the net to boost their survival hopes going into the New Year.
The Latics began 2013 a point above the relegation zone in 16th, but that soon changed after a 4-0 home defeat to Manchester United.
The month ended without a league win, as Wigan drew with Fulham and Stoke while losing to Sunderland at the DW, prompting Martinez to strengthen his side.
Honduran Roger Espinoza joined on a free from MLS side Sporting Kansas City, with Angelo Henriquez and Paul Scharner – his second spell at the club – came in on loan from United and Hamburg respectively.
Spanish keeper Joel Robles also joined on loan from Atletico Madrid and made his debut in the FA Cup fourth round win against Macclesfield Town after the Latics began their run against Bournemouth.
Wigan’s winless run in the league was extended to six games after a draw with Southampton and a thumping 4-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.
But the month ended positively as the Latics cruised into the sixth round of the FA Cup, beating Championship Huddersfield Town 4-1, before claiming their first league win of 2013 with a 3-0 victory at Reading.
After a poor start to the month, shipping in four goals to Liverpool, Wigan’s luck and more importantly their results began to turn.
Firstly, three goals in as many minutes and a fine performance from youngster McManaman booked the Latics a place at Wembley for their first-ever FA Cup semi-final, knocking out high-flying Everton.
McManaman was involved again, albeit controversially, in Wigan’s next game – in which they beat fellow strugglers Newcastle 2-1 at the DW Stadium.
The former Everton youngster was lucky to stay on the pitch after a horrific challenge on defender Massadio Haidara, which had the Magpies calling for changes to the rules regarding retrospective punishment.
The Latics followed up win over Newcastle with a 1-0 win over Norwich City, putting them level on points with Villa and taking them out of the relegation zone.
A trip to bottom club Queens Park Rangers was next, but Wigan failed to capitalise on Bobby Zamora’s first-half dismissal, needing a 94th-minute Shaun Maloney free-kick to rescue a point.
A trip to Wembley to face Millwall in the FA Cup semi-final provided a welcome distraction to the relegation battle as the Latics ran out 2-0 winners.
And in a warm-up to the final Wigan took on the Citizens in their next game but, despite taking the 2012 Premier League champions all the way, lost 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
A 2-0 loss at West Ham United followed, but it was the final weekend in April which ultimately ruined the Latics’ chances for survival.
Leading 2-1 against Tottenham Hotspur with only minutes remaining, Boyce’s own goal cost Wigan two vital points before their misery was compounded with Villa’s 6-1 destruction of Sunderland.
The month began well for the Latics, with an important 3-2 win over the Baggies, but any hope they had was swiftly lost in their next game as they went down by the same score-line against Swansea City.
But in one of the biggest FA Cup final upsets, Watson’s last-gasp header against City secured Wigan their first major domestic trophy in the club’s history.
However the joy at a first-ever FA Cup win was short-lived as the Latics’ efforts in the final clearly had an effect in their fight-or-die match against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Another Shaun Maloney free-kick gave Wigan hope at half-time after Lukas Podolski put the Gunners ahead, but three second-half goals relegated Martinez’s side to the Championship.
What could have been a vital final game against Villa – which ended 2-2 – became a dead rubber, but after the match Martinez lead the fans in the celebration of a history-making campaign.
Image courtesy of FATV, via YouTube, with thanks