Latics kept their slim hopes of Championship survival alive with a 2-1 victory against Brighton and Hove Albion at the DW Stadium.
Wigan had not won at home in 18 fixtures and defeat to fellow strugglers Brighton would have condemned them to a second relegation in only three seasons.
Wigan born Tim Chow gave Latics the lead on his home debut after 26 minutes but Dale Stephens equalised on 55 minutes.
Both teams wasted some golden opportunities to win the game before substitute Marc- Antoine Fortune’s deflected cross was bundled over the line by James Perch to give Wigan a lifeline.
New manager Gary Caldwell made two changes to the side which lost at Millwall on Tuesday night with Billinge born Tim Chow making his home debut in midfield alongside Don Cowie, who came into the team in place of Emmerson Boyce and Marc-Antoine Fortune.
Latics started tentatively and the visitors were nearly ahead in the opening minutes when Craig Mackail-Smith found space down the right and his low shot at the near post forced a good save from Scott Carson.
Wigan gradually gained a foothold in the game with Chow making some good challenges in midfield.
The home team started to dominate possession and they went ahead on 26 minutes when Chow met Jermaine Pennant’s cross from the right to head past David Stockdale from six yards out.
William Kvist then tried his luck from distance as Latics were now well on top.
James McClean should have doubled Wigan’s lead just before the interval when he was clean through on goal but Stockdale somehow managed to get his feet to the ball to deny the Republic of Ireland international.
Wigan started the second half sluggishly and Brighton were soon level when the unmarked Dale Stephens volleyed home Danny Holla’s corner from eight yards out.
The visitors nearly went ahead a few minutes later when Kazenga LuaLua broke clear but the winger fired his effort just wide of Carson’s post.
The contest was now wide open as both teams went for the vital winner.
Latics were denied a Stonewall penalty when Greg Halford pulled back Fortune in the area but referee Keith Hill incredibly waved away the Latics players’ appeals.
Wigan then had a great opportunity when James McClean cut the ball back to Kim Bo-Kyung but the South Korean’s side footed effort only found the side netting.
Wigan’s survival hopes were now hanging by a thread, but with nine minutes remaining they got the all important winner.
Fortune’s cross was deflected goal-wards by Dale Stephens and after Stockdale had fumbled, Perch was on hand to get the ball over the line.
There a was huge relief around the DW Stadium as Wigan hung on to record a rare home victory to keep their season alive.