Wigan 3-2 West Ham - McNulty's chaotic classics

West Ham goalkeeper Rob Green holds his head in his hands
West Ham goalkeeper Rob Green holds his head in his hands

Phil McNulty, chief football writer

Premier League, 15 May 2011

This may not sound the sort of fixture that is a catalyst for chaos, but anyone inside the DW Stadium on this incident-packed day will tell a very different story.

West Ham United, under manager Avram Grant, knew only victory would stop relegation, while Wigan knew defeat would almost certainly mean the drop for Roberto Martinez's side.

The Hammers were fulfilling their part of the bargain as they led through two Demba Ba headers at half-time. Wigan were actually bottom of the Premier League at one point during the game as results were going against them.

Suddenly Wigan revived and were level with two goals from Charles N'Zogbia and Conor Sammon - the second goal the signal for an instant mocking fly-past with a plane pulling the banner "Avram Grant, Millwall Legend" as West Ham faced the Championship.

It then turned into a basketball game as West Ham tried to save themselves only to see their fate sealed with another N'Zogbia goal in stoppage time.

Grant's fate was also sealed when a West Ham official announced the manager would not be meeting the media as he had been sacked, which was even followed by a debate about whether he would travel back with the team as he was no longer in charge.

The final enduring image of the day summed it up - a highly experienced and very capable freelance journalist who had to report for several outlets sitting with his head in hands, and that head shaking in disbelief, in the stadium's reception area.

Find out which other games Phil chose here