The goal, a violent header from Hugo Rodallega from a sweeping Victor Moses cross, finally defeated the defiant Burnley goalkeeper, Brian Jensen.
The three points inched Wigan further from the relegation area and brought delight to their fans.
Wigan Athletic's Hugo Rodallega (right) celebrates with team mate Titus Bramble
In the few minutes before the goal, Jensen had produced three astonishing saves.
The outcome left Wigan manager Roberto Martinez purring: 'This was pride, not relief. We got what we deserved.'
That sinking feeling: Laws has accrued just four points from a possible 33
Pride, too, echoed by Burnley manager Brian Laws, who talked about the desire, commitment and togetherness of his side.
'If we continue to play like that we can get out of danger,' he said.
A bleak first half suggested both sides were relegation material.The fight and desire you might expect of two clubs in dire difficultieswere sadly missed. It came later.
The only chance followed a spat between Burnley captain GrahamAlexander and his keeper in the 18th minute, with the skipper beratedby Jensen for a lazy back pass that the keeper flicked wide with hisboot for a corner.
Wigan's Gary Caldwell was first to the resulting kick and crashed a header against the angle of bar and post.
Before that Burnley argued hard and long when striker David Nugentwas felled by a Titus Bramble challenge that looked worthy of a yellowcard. Referee Mike Jones took no action.
In the second half, a free-kick from Wigan's Maynor Figueroa flashedwide, then Wade Elliott cleared off the line as Rodallega looked topounce in a scramble.
When Burnley's Martin Paterson clipped the Wigan bar it was no morethan a scare. Jensen saved magnificently from Jason Scotland andMohamed Diame before Rodallega's flying header settled it.
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