WIGAN, England (AFP) - Wigan squandered a golden opportunity to ease their relegation fears as they allowed Tottenham to fight back three times to earn a 3-3 draw on Sunday.
Paul Jewell's side went ahead through Emile Heskey but Dimitar Berbatov levelled for Spurs, then Leighton Baines restored the hosts' lead, only for Robbie Keane to equalise in a thrilling first half at the JJB Stadium.
Kevin Kilbane put Wigan back in front after the break, but once again they were unable to hold on as poor defending let Keane in to earn Spurs a point.
Wigan are just three points above the relegation zone after their winless run extended to five matches and if they do go down this is a game they will look back on with regret.
The Latics had desperately needed to get off to a good start but even they would have been surprised how quickly they went in front.
Tottenham were unable to fully clear Denny Landzaat's first minute free-kick and, when Matt Jackson's shot was headed weakly by Phil Ifil to Heskey, the England international was on hand to stab home at the second attempt.
Heskey's strike was timed at just 55 seconds, but it took Spurs just three minutes to draw level.
Keane's trickery took him into the area and he laid off a pass for his strike partner Berbatov. The Bulgarian evaded two challenges and drove a low shot past John Filan for his 20th goal of the season.
However, Wigan are nothing if not determined and they regained the lead after half an hour.
There appeared to be little danger when Michael Dawson headed Kilbane's cross out to the left edge of the penalty area. But Baines has shown his ability from long range several times theis season and he hit a dipping half-volley that gave Paul Robinson no chance as it flashed into top corner.
Yet Wigan were unable to build on their lead and Spurs were back on level terms after 35 minutes.
Jermaine Jenas was shoved in the back by Baines as he surged into the area, but it was Filan's sliding challenge on the Spurs midfielder that sent him stumbling to the turf.
Referee Graham Poll pointed to the spot and Keane wrong-footed Filan to easily convert the penalty.
There was no sign of an end-to-end encounter slowing and it took a fine stop from Robinson to deny Paul Scharner after the Austrian had met Emmerson Boyce's cross with a diving header. The danger wasn't over and Kilbane should have buried the rebound, but headed tamely over.
Wigan didn't have to wait long to get their third goal of a superb match in the 60th minute. Ryan Taylor whipped over an inswinging corner and Kilbane muscled his way in front of Didier Zokora to thump a header past Robinson.
But Jewell's side continued to display a complete lack of defensive nous and a misjudgement by Jackson gave Keane his second equaliser after 68 minutes.
Robinson sent a huge punt down field and centre-back Jackson allowed the ball to bounce through to Keane, who brilliantly lobbed Filan from 25 yards.