Jordan Henderson answered his critics in spectacular style as he fired home a double in a 4-2 win which eases Sunderland's relegation fears.
Mohamed Diame put Wigan ahead seven minutes into the second half, turning expertly past Michael Turner before smashing a 25-yard drive past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
However, the lead lasted just three minutes. Substitute Steed Malbranque cut inside before crossing perfectly for Asamoah Gyan to rise and power home a close-range header. However, the Ghanaian striker's joy was short-lived as he left the field on a stretcher within nine minutes having pulled up clutching his hamstring.
The resulting reshuffle saw Stephane Sessegnon pushed up front, but it was local boy Henderson who fired his side in front when he controlled substitute Sulley Muntari's cross on his chest before drilling a left-foot half-volley into the top corner.
Sessegnon got his big chance with 17 minutes remaining when he was barged to the ground by defender Antolin Alcaraz inside the penalty area and referee Lee Probert pointed to the spot. The Benin international sent Ali Al Habsi the wrong way to wrap up the win, although he was not finished for the afternoon.
Four minutes later, it was Sessegnon who picked out Henderson in space inside the box and the youngster finished with aplomb once again. Substitute Franco di Santo's last-minute strike provided little consolation for the visitors, who remain deep in relegation trouble.