Latics produced a much improved performance to comfortably overcome local rivals Blackburn Rovers and end a five game winless run.
The hosts are in the throes of an injury-crisis but several squad players stepped up to the mark and they fully deserved the three points against a lacklustre Rovers.
Gary Roberts produced a stunning strike from 25 yards for the opening goal on 37 minutes before the hapless Jack Rodwell conceded a penalty bringing down Josh Windass and James Vaughan emphatically converted the spot kick.
Rovers pulled a goal back on 83 minutes when centre back Dan Burn turned the ball into his own net following a corner.
But Latics eased any late nervousness when Windass fired low across the six yard box and Callum McManaman converted at the back post to make it 3-1.
Latics move up to 15th in the Championship table two points behind Rovers in 13th place after 19 games.
Paul Cook made two changes to his starting line-up with Vaughan and Lee Evans returning in place of Darron Gibson and Josh Windass.
Neither team gained the upper hand in the early exchanges, with Nick Powell having to be substituted on 22 minutes the signs didn’t look good for Latics, but on the half hour mark the hosts had a trio of glorious chances. First Vaughan saw his header cleared off the line then Burn’s effort was tipped onto the crossbar by David Raya before Cedric Kipre headed narrowly wide of the post. A big let off for Rovers.
But Latics did go ahead just four minutes later when Roberts drove forward before unleashing a stunning low drive which beat Raya and hit the post before crossing the line.
Latics had further chances to increase their lead before the interval, with one opportunity particularly notable as Windass managed to somehow prevent a certain goal by blocking it on the Rovers goalline.
The hosts continued to have the better of it in the second half and should have gone further ahead when Windass broke down the right and crossed for Vaughan, whose first-time effort was comfortably saved by Raya.
Adam Armstrong had an opportunity at the other end for Rovers but his effort was easily saved by Christian Walton.
It was a chance Rovers would regret missing as soon afterwards the hapless Jack Rodwell playing as a central defender brought down Windass in the box.
Vaughan stepped up and blasted the spot kick past Raya and high into the Rovers net.
Rovers were now offering little resistance and Latics had further chances to increase their lead with Burn, Vaughan and Evans all having attempts on Raya’s goal.
Rovers somehow pulled a goal back on 83 minutes when Burn turned the ball into his own net following a corner. But with four minutes of normal time remaining Latics confirmed the three points when McManaman calmly converted Windass’ cross.
It had been a surprisingly one-sided local derby with Rovers offering little threat against an injury-hit Latics side who had previously been struggling for confidence. The result should give Cook’s team a big boost going into another important local derby against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.