Ian Evatt hailed his side’s fightback to claim a share of the derby spoils as his 100th game as Wanderers’ manager finished on a high.
Evatt’s men trailed to an early James McClean goal as Wigan looked to repeat their 4-0 win at Wanderers last October and go clear at the top of League One.
But the Whites rode out an early storm and after dominating the second half at the DW Stadium earned a fitting reward through Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s excellent late header.
“He was absolutely brilliant when he came on,” said Evatt, who started the Icelander on the bench after two games for his country during the international break.
“He was a focal point, he got hold of it, enabled us to get up the pitch and build better and it was a fantastic finish, so I’m really pleased for him.
“It would have been hard to go with him from the start today but we knew we could impact it from the bench and that’s what we did.”
The introduction of Bodvarsson, Amadou Bakayoko and Kyle Dempsey added to Wanderers’ momentum as they cancelled out the strike from McClean – who Evatt felt should have received a second yellow card prior to half-time – to secure a 1-1 draw and extend their unbeaten away run to three games.
“Massive credit to our lads. We wrestled back the impetus after that first half hour and then I thought in the second half we were outstanding,” added the Wanderers’ boss.
“We didn’t managed that first 25 minutes-half an hour well enough.
“We looked nervous. It felt like we were under pressure when really we weren’t.
“We took over the last 10-15 minutes of the first half and then second half I thought it was all us really.
“We took control, the lads came off the bench and gave us some fresh impetus and I thought the point was the least we deserved.”
The result left Wanderers 11 points off the play-off places with just six games to go but still looking up after just three defeats since mid-January and the influx of new signings.
“While there is mathematically a chance we will keep fighting to the very end but the important part for us is that we carry on with momentum,” said Evatt, whose side now faces back-to-back home games against play-off hopefuls Portsmouth.
“I think we’ve all seen today we’re a completely different team to what we were when they played us in the home game and the cup game.
“They are top of this division for a reason. This was always going to be a benchmark for us today.
“We have shown now we can compete against the best teams in this division and give ourselves a great opportunity.
“We all want it now but it’s not that easy. You have to build and regardless of what happens towards the end of this season it’s been a huge positive because on and off the pitch we’ve improved.”