Latics slipped nearer to League 1 with another disappointing performance at home to Huddersfield Town.
Despite having more shots and possession Wigan failed to create any clear-cut chances throughout.
But with the match heading towards a stalemate a freak goal secured all three points for the Terriers.
Conor Coady attempted a cross to the back post but the ball sailed over Scott Carson and into the top corner of the Wigan net.
Malky Mackay made two changes from the starting line up against Blackburn with Emyr Huws and Callum McManaman coming in for Ben Watson and Adam Forshaw
Latics started brightly with William Kvist, Huws and Chris McCann moving the ball around briskly.
Callum McManaman was looking lively and his dangerous cross forced Alex Smithies to punch clear in the 11th minute.
McCann then tested the Terriers keeper from 20 yards following good work by Martyn Waghorn.
Huddersfield responded and Latics had to make two goal line clearances to keep the scores level.
First a Nahki Wells header was cleared off the line by Liam Ridgewell and then Waghorn headed Tommy Smith’s effort off the line following a corner.
Latics continued to dominate possession but they lacked the creativity to unlock a resolute Terriers defence.
They may already be rueing the release of their most creative midfielder Shaun Maloney to Chicago Fire before the end of his contract.
In the previous home game against Blackburn it was Maloney’s quality that had brought Wigan back into the game.
Unable to create any clear goal scoring opportunities Latics went into the interval level.
Wigan continued to have the better possession in the second half but did not carve out an opportunity until the 60th minute.
McManaman beat his marker and got to the by line before chipping a great cross to McClean in the centre of the box but the Irishman did not make the right contact and the header flew over the crossbar.
McCann was withdrawn with a hamstring strain and replaced by Don Cowie. The ineffective Waghorn was replaced by Marc-Antoine Fortune and Andy Delort was thrown into the fray to replace the tiring McManaman, but Latics still struggled to create an opening.
But it was Huddersfield who claimed the points with eight minutes of normal time remaining. A speculative cross to the far post by Coady sailed over the helpless Carson and into the top corner.
Latics huffed and puffed to grab an equaliser but the Terriers defence stood strong and moved 13 points ahead of Wigan in the Championship table.
Yet another dispiriting defeat for Wigan means the prospect of League 1 football looms even larger.
If they are to somehow escape the drop they must now use the transfer window and the Emergency Loan system to great effect. Reinforcements are desperately needed and there have been links with Leeds United defender Jason Pearce, Aston Villa defender Chris Herd and Burnley striker Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Mackay has indicated that the players brought into the club will be ‘his type of player’. Let’s hope these players have the requisite quality and desire for a fight to save our Championship status.