A rare goal by Jamal Lowe gave Latics a desperately needed victory against Sheffield Wednesday at the DW Stadium.
The visitors had gone ahead in the first half when Jacob Murphy headed home Morgan Fox’s pinpoint cross.
Kieffer Moore equalised early in the second half after a defence splitting pass from the excellent Samy Morsy.
But despite Latics’ dominance the match looked to be heading towards a draw until Lowe’s stunning winner in stoppage time.
Lowe produced a deft back header over keeper Cameron Dawson from Joe Garner’s flick-on following Joe Williams cross to lift the home team’s spirits.
Latics move up to third bottom in the Championship table, four points from safety, while Wednesday drop to 11th place.
Paul Cook made two changes to the team defeated against Swansea City with Joe Gelhardt finally getting a start and Moore coming in for Joe Williams and Joe Garner.
It was a hard fought opening period as both teams battled to take control. Latics first real opportunity came when Antonee Robinson was played into the box but fired over from a good position.
At the other end, the Owls had a chance as Murphy went in behind the Latics defence but he fired wide of the target.
Soon afterwards the visitors were ahead as Barry Bannon played a great pass to Fox on the wing and his perfect cross found Murphy on the edge of the six yard box and the Newcastle United loanee headed past David Marshall.
Latics responded and Morsy’s powerful effort from 35-yards was well pushed away by Dawson.
But the visitors were ahead at the interval and Latics would need to up their game in the second half if they were to get anything from the game.
Latics started strongly and were level on 56 minutes, Morsy played a superb through ball to Moore in the Wednesday penalty area and the big striker scored his third goal of the season.
On 66 minutes Latics suffered a big blow when Everton loanee Kieran Dowell was injured and stretchered off.
Despite the setback Latics upped their game with the diminutive Morsy driving the team forward and consistently winning challenges against the 6ft 5in Owls striker Atdhe Nuhiu.
Cedric Kipre had a great chance to put Latics ahead following a corner but he couldn’t get enough power in his shot and Dawson saved easily.
Latics pressure mounted and Jacobs had a chance from a Lowe pull back and Moore headed narrowly wide at the back post from a Lee Evans cross.
Wednesday couldn’t get out of their half as Latics went in search of the winner.
Lowe crossed again for Moore but the big Wales international couldn’t quite make it count at the back post.
Just when it looked like Latics would be thwarted in their attempts Lowe got the vital winner.
Substitute Williams launched a deep ball to fellow substitute Garner who headed onwards to Lowe who deftly guided the ball over Dawson with a back header.
It was no more than Latics deserved for their second half performance and it was a crucial result as fellow strugglers Luton and Huddersfield both won on the night.
Whether Latics have turned a corner remains to be seen. The gap between Latics and fourth bottom Charlton is now four points but they have difficult fixtures against Leeds (A) and Preston (H) upcoming.