Determined Latics came from a goal down to claim a priceless three points against in-form Nottingham Forest, with Shaun Maloney levelling from the penalty spot after Andy Reid had put Forest ahead inside eight minutes.
Jordi Gomez scored what turned out to be the winner in a sensational performance from the Spaniard on his first start of the season.
Owen Coyle made five changes from the starting line-up against Middlesbrough as Roger Espinoza, Gomez and Ben Watson stepped in for Chris McCann, James McArthur and Stephen Crainey, Shaun Maloney returning from injury to replace the injured Grant Holt and Thomas Rogne came in to make his Latics debut following a month on the side lines as he replaced James Perch.
Latics burst out of the blocks and with pace and skill on the ball looked to be causing their visitors some early problems as three free kicks were given away in quick succession.
Unfortunately for Latics it turned out to be a foul of their own that cost them.
Ben Watson's clumsy challenge on the edge of the area allowed Andy Reid to give Forest the lead as he curled a beautiful free kick in off the angle of the cross bar and post.
Heads didn't drop for Latics as they continued to force themselves onto Forest and the Reds' rearguard was broken just six minutes after their opening goal.
Marc-Antoine Fortune received the ball down the left side of the area and with close control as he rolled the ball between his feet, he skipped past Jack Hobbs only to have his feet taken from underneath him giving referee Craig Pawson only one call to make as he pointed to the spot.
Maloney stepped up and didn't disappoint as he whipped his right footed spot-kick beyond Karl Darlow.
Pressure on Forest's defence was the theme of the first half, as were yellow cards.
Both Henri Lansbury and Eric Lichaj were booked in quick succession as the former toppled Roger Espinoza and the latter tripped Maloney during a bursting run down the left wing.
Latics were looking like a well oiled machine and the important cogs of Espinoza and Gomez were working superbly with the Honduran winning back possession and Gomez creating from midfield.
With 34 minutes on the clock Gomez put Latics ahead and sent the majority of the 16,270 supporters inside the stadium into raptures.
Fortune showed an excellent piece of individual skill and strength to open up a shooting opportunity as he looped the ball over Karl Darlow's head but saw it bounce back down off the cross bar.#
Luckily for the striker Gomez was perfectly placed to follow it up and slide the ball underneath Darlow who was scrambling to try and save.
Latics saw out the first half with a solid performance and continued to look a threat going forwards.
Forest looked a different side in the second half after what must have been a stern telling off by manager Billy Davies.
The Reds came out strong but couldn't find quality in the final third.
Instead they aimed the ball high into the area and were met by the strong heads of Rogne, Emmerson Boyce and Leon Barnett who dominated the aerial challenges.
Scott Carson remained solid in goal and came out on a number of occasions to claim the ball, whilst also making a clever stop from a Reid flick on in the box as he got low to hold onto the ball.
Owen Coyle's men were looking for counter attacks to see off the game but they didn't need it as they saw out the second half and four added minutes to secure a huge three points in the push towards the top of the Championship.