JEAN Beausejour’s first goal of the season gave Latics a well-deserved three points to kick off 2014 in style.
The Chilean exchanged a short corner with Callum McManaman at the three-quarter mark, before cutting in and drilling an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
It was a goal fit to win any game, but the visitors had to hang on for dear life in a frantic last 10 minutes.
Twice they seemed certain to equalise late on, only for Simon Dawkins and Chris Martin to fluff their lines from bang in front.
Wigan’s win lifts them to within three points of the play-offs, still with a game in hand, and plenty of optimism for the second half of the campaign.
Latics: Al Habsi; Boyce, Ramis, Barnett, Perch; McCann, McArthur, Espinoza; Beausejour, Powell, Fortune.
Subs: Pollitt, Crainey (for Ramis, 28), Kiernan (for Fortune, 75), Gomez, McManaman (for Espinoza, 68), McClean, Holt.
Derby: Grant; Wisdom, Keane, Buxton, Forsyth; Bryson, Eustace, Hughes, Ward; Martin, Russell.
Subs: Hendrick (for Bryson, 46), Sammon (for Eustace, 71), Bennett, Legzdins, Dawkins (for Ward, 65), Cisse, Whitbread.
For a full match report and reaction, see Thursday’s Wigan Evening Post.