Latics are still alive, just, after crucial come-from-behind win in the Midlands.
Wigan Athletic registered a vital 3-2 victory at high-flying West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon to keep alive their survival hopes.
Callum McManaman netted the winner with 10 minutes to play, after goals by Shane Long and Gareth McAuley for West Brom had been successively cancelled out by Arouna Kone and substitute James McArthur.
FA Cup finalists Wigan have pulled off late escapes from relegation in the last three seasons and now trail fourth-bottom Sunderland by two points with three matches to play.
Sunderland host Stoke City on Monday, while Wigan have a game in hand at home to ninth-place Swansea City on Tuesday.
The relegation of West Brom’s local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers from the second-tier Championship earlier in the day had the home fans in full voice at the Hawthorns, and they saw home striker Romelu Lukaku volley an early chance over the bar.
Wigan’s need for points was far greater, however, and home goalkeeper Ben Foster was soon called upon to repel long-range shots from McManaman and Kone.
McManaman then headed wide from Kone’s cross, but it was the hosts who were to make the breakthrough in the 29th minute.
After Paul Scharner conceded possession, Lukaku’s fine pass found Markus Rosenberg galloping down the right flank and his low cross was guided home at the back post by Long.
In response, the influential Shaun Maloney curled a free-kick inches wide, before Jean Beausejour crossed from the left for Kone to score a 39th-minute equaliser with a well-directed header.
Kone had out-jumped McAuley to score but the West Brom centre-back atoned after five minutes of the second period by climbing to head Graham Dorrans’ free-kick into the bottom-right corner and restore the hosts’ advantage.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez responded by introducing McArthur and Roman Golobart in place of Jordi Gomez and Ronnie Stam, and McArthur made an immediate impact by netting an equaliser within moments of coming on.
Maloney was the architect, sending in a cross that the Scottish midfielder dispatched with a fine diving header.
West Brom threatened to immediately re-take the lead when McAuley headed narrowly over, before Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles had to save with his legs from Billy Jones.
Maloney created the winner in the 80th minute, jinking to the byline on the left before cutting the ball back for McManaman to tap home, and the visitors survived a late scare when McArthur had to head the ball off his own line in injury time.