Bolton boss Phil Parkinson was struggling to find any positives from the 5-2 defeat at fellow Championship strugglers Wigan that pushed Wanderers one step closer to relegation.
Latics had started the day out of the bottom three only on goal difference, but were head and shoulders above their closest rivals in every department.
Goals from Joe Garner, Gavin Massey and Nick Powell – a comical effort after picking the pocket of Bolton goalkeeper Remi Matthews – had Wigan three up by the hour mark.
Gary O’Neil pulled one back only for Michael Jacobs to restore Wigan’s three-goal advantage.
And although Sammy Ameobi made it 4-2 with 10 minutes remaining, substitute Leon Clarke added icing to the cake within seconds of the restart.
Wigan’s superiority was such they could easily have doubled their tally.
But Parkinson felt, as badly as Bolton had played, they could easily have got at Wigan more and ensured a far nervier climax.
“That’s the frustrating thing because, as soon as we got a goal back, we felt we could go on and get something,” said Parkinson, whose side are eight points adrift of safety.
“We always felt we could create chances against Wigan, but unfortunately conceded too soon after our goals.
“The nature of the third goal (from Powell) in particular summed up our afternoon, and the way it’s been going.
“It’s ridiculous. It happened earlier this week in the Carlisle-Notts County game, and sometimes when players see something like that on the telly, they copy it.
“I’ve said to Remy that’s it a basic thing as a goalkeeper, you look around you. It’s a very poor error.”
For his part, Wigan boss Paul Cook was delighted at a first win in eight matches that sees his side move up two places on the ladder.
“It was just what the doctor ordered, without a shadow of a doubt,” he said.
“The early goal helped calm the nerves, and we rode our luck once or twice in certain situations.
“But we created more than enough chances to win a game of football, that’s for sure.
“I’m delighted for the players on the back of a really tough week. We never in a lifetime deserved to lose at Reading last weekend.
“We had people from the referee’s association apologising for all three of their goals, saying they should never have stood.
“We then go to Blackburn on Tuesday and produce our flattest performance of the season.
“The pressure was mounting on everybody, which is just football today. But I’m just so pleased for the players, it’s a great win.”
Cook also found time to offer support to his under-fire counterpart at Bolton.
“I must pat Phil Parkinson and his staff on the back,” he added.
“It’s so difficult football, at times, going through what they’ve been going through.
“Week in, week out, it seems to be the same stuff going round, the same cycle. And it must be so tough to try and manage that.
“While it’s a great night for us, a little bit of feeling has to go to Phil and his staff.
“Hopefully that situation gets sorted out for the benefit of Bolton Wanderers.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.