Jon Dadi Bodvarsson grabbed a share of the super-sub tag as his late goal earned Wanderers a deserved derby-day point to stop Wigan going to the top of League One.
The Latics looked to be claiming pole position in the title race thanks to James McClean’s early goal.
But Wanderers shook off their shaky start to dictate the second half.
And with seven minutes to go Bodvarsson gave them their reward with a brilliant headed equaliser.
The Whites have made a habit of scoring some big goals via the bench in the recent run which had kept their slim play-off hopes alive.
And while those chances may now have receded further, this was still another important strike to restore some pride following October’s heavy home beating by Wigan and prove that Ian Evatt’s side can live with the best in the manager's 100th game in charge.
Amadou Bakayoko has invariably been the man to produce the goods as a substitute but Bodvarsson claimed a late leveller against Morecambe last month and repeated the trick with a fourth goal for the club which will live long in the memory of the Wanderers’ fans.
The Whites started with just four of the side that had begun the 4-0 loss to the Latics earlier this season as they looked redress the balance.
Gethin Jones was back for the first time in over a month and there was also a first start since early January for Elias Kachunga.
But the Whites – missing the injured Declan John – made a nervy start and went behind after just six minutes.
McLean had been one of Wanderers’ tormenters in the previous meeting with two goals and he got on the scoresheet again when an attempted cross was allowed to curl all the way into the bottom corner of the net.
The Ireland international – seemingly fortunate to complete the half after bringing down Dapo Afolayan when already on a yellow card – had a better chance five minutes later but this time missed the target when a second goal would have had Wanderers wobbling.
Evatt’s men tried to gain a foothold in the contest but didn’t help their cause by giving the ball away too often and giving Wigan opportunities to extend their lead on the break.
And after an increasingly scrappy first half had failed to throw up any real chances to level, Evatt waited just 10 minutes of the second half to make his first change as he sent on Bodvarsson in place of Kachunga.
Afolayan was doing his best to find gaps in the Latics’ defence with a number of probing runs as Wanderers tried to force an opening and the opportunity to level.
The visitors were certainly seeing more of the ball with George Johnston, Ricardo Santos and Will Aimson nullifying any Wigan threat.
But with a need to carry more potency themselves, Bakayoko joined the fray, along with Kyle Dempsey, with 25 minutes to go.
Wanderers were lifting the tempo with Bodvarsson seeing a shot blocked and with the Whites delivering more and more balls into the Wigan penalty area the travelling fans grew in hope that a goal would come.
And with eight minutes to go they got their wish to celebrate another fine finish from Bodvarsson, who like Bakayoko was back from a tour of international duty.
The Icelander has quickly become a fan favourite and he further cemented that relationship with a brilliant header flashed into the corner from Aimson’s cross.
Wanderers then pressed for a late winner but despite being denied a hat-trick of away victories still finished on a high to take ahead of big home games against Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday.
Wanderers: Trafford; Aimson, Santos, Johnston; Jones, Williams (Dempsey 65), Morley, Sadlier; Afolayan, Kachunga (Bodvarsson 55); Charles (Bakayoko 65). Substitutes: Amaechi, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon.
Wigan: Amos; Kerr, Whatmough, Tilt (Watts 90); Darikwa, Power, Naylor, McClean; Lang (Edwards 88), Keane; Magennis (Humphrys 77). Substitutes: Jones, Massey, Shinnie, Bennett.
Referee: Samuel Barrott
Attendance: 15,279 (Wanderers 4,071)