Ben Watson's 91st minute header delivered Wigan Athletic's first ever major trophy and defeated 10-man Manchester City in a pulsating FA Cup Final at Wembley.
After Pablo Zabaleta became the third player in cup final history to be red carded, Wigan capped the most memorable of performances, inspired by man-of-the-match Callum McManaman, as Watson flicked home Shaun Maloney's stoppage time corner.
Having relinquishing their Premier League title in limp circumstances, City created little throughout the 90 minutes and the result throws in serious doubt Roberto Mancini's future at the Etihad Stadium.
Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez will hope the historic victory can spark a recovery in their scrap for survival in the league, where they require wins from their final two matches against Arsenal and Aston Villa to retain their top flight status.
Amid rumours regarding his future City, Mancini reinstated Joe Hart in goal in place of Costel Pantilimon, despite the Romanian having played the entire of the club's run to the final, while Samir Nasri began ahead of James Milner.
Opposite number Martinez, whose own future has been the source of speculation with the Spaniard among the contenders to replace David Moyes at Everton, had his own selection dilemma in goal but No.1 Joel Robles retained his place ahead of Ali Al Habsi and Antolin Alcaraz was selected instead of Gary Caldwell.
After their mid-week defeat to Swansea City left Wigan on the brink of relegation from the Premier League, the pre-match underdogs began with a carefree approach and should have taken the lead after Arouna Kone's through pass found McManaman, who curled beyond Joe Hart's right-hand post.
City's uncertain start was a microcosm of their league title defence, but they almost hit the front against the run of play as David Silva slipped in behind, with his pull back finding Carlos Tevez who was denied by the outstretched leg of Robles.
It was merely temporary respite as The Latics went in search of the opener once again and McManaman was guilty of over exuberance when played through after the half hour, when after rounding Hart he twisted and turned in front of goal before seeing Zabaleta block his goalbound effort.
The Merseyside born winger, who scored in rounds five and six as well as the semi-final win over Millwall, was causing Gael Clichy a myriad of problems and was producing a performance which was threatening to upset the 2011 winners.
Athletic felt they should have had a penalty ten minutes before the break after Zabaleta's challenge on Roger Espinoza, which was waved away by referee Andre Marriner.
The introduction of Milner for Nasri after the break sought to improve City's fortunes and they almost snatched the lead when Zabaleta's cross-evaded the outstretched Silva.
But if their threat going forward had improved, City's ability to shackle McManaman failed to improve and the 22 year old almost opened the scoring having slalomed past Silva and Clichy, but Vincent Kompany desperate block kept the scores level.
The crossbar then came to City's rescue as Shaun Maloney's miss-hit free-kick bounced against the woodwork and to safety as Wigan's opportunities became more frequent.
And Martinez's side's dominance was cemented, as Zabaleta followed Kevin Moran and Jose Antonio Reyes and became the third player to be sent off in Cup final history after receiving a second yellow card for scything down McManaman.
McManaman felt he should have been awarded a penalty in the final minute of normal time after Clichy felled him, but his appeals soon turn to celebration as Wigan grabbed the most unlikely of winning goals.
Maloney's right wing corner curled into the near post and Watson, who had earlier replaced Jordi Gomez, rose highest to flick beyond Hart and inspire Wigan to their first ever piece of major silverware and compound a miserable campaign for City.