Two late goals by substitutes Marc-Antoine Fortuné and Jordi Gomez saved Wigan’s blushes against Championship strugglers Charlton.
The Latics trailed to an early Marvin Sordell strike, but couldn’t break down a stubborn Addicks rearguard until the 88th minute when the French striker Fortuné stroked the ball home following a good pass from new loan signing Josh McEachran.
In stoppage time the Spaniard Gomez produced a superb free kick to score at the near post and secure an important three points, which had seemed unlikely with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Uwe Rösler made three changes from Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough, with James McClean, Callum McManaman and Ben Watson coming into the starting line-up. Nick Powell, who tweaked a hamstring on Tuesday night, was notably absent from the Latics squad.
The Addicks took a shock lead after only three minutes when Sordell raced onto a through-ball from Johnnie Jackson to beat Ali Al-Habsi with ease.
Wigan quickly responded with McManaman going close twice, but the away team could have increased their lead when Reza Ghoochannejhad crashed a powerful shot against the crossbar.
The Wigan fans were growing restless as the prospect of losing contact with the play-off places loomed large.
But the home team were starting to dominate possession and create chances and McManaman nearly restored parity when his lobbed effort came back off the crossbar.
After the break the lively winger also set up Nicky Maynard but the Cardiff City loan player’s effort was disallowed for offside.
As the half progressed Charlton retreated and Wigan pressed forward. Chance after chance was created by the home side but a combination of a poor final ball and some last-ditch defending by the Addicks prevented a Wigan goal.
Ben Watson and Emmerson Boyce went close for Rösler’s men and Leon Barnett looked to have wasted the best chance to draw level when he headed over from six yards out.
The Wigan manager is not reticent in making substitutions and it was the introduction of Fortuné, McEachran and Gomez that dramatically swung the game in Wigan’s favour.
With only two minutes of normal time remaining McEachran produced a slide rule pass into Fortuné and the well-travelled striker slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to equalise.
As the game moved into stoppage time, Gomez produced a moment of magic as he curled his 20 yard free-kick around the wall and into the net and cue joyous scenes around the DW Stadium.
Wigan’s renaissance under Rösler continues with this hard-won victory. They are now unbeaten at home in seven matches under the new manager. They have moved up to 10th in the Championship table, seven points off the play-off positions but crucially with two games in hand on most of their rivals.