Sam Tomkins had mixed emotions after his ‘second debut’ ended in defeat.
The full-back scored a try on his long-awaited return to action to reel Hull FC’s lead into 18-16.
But the visitors finished strongly with two unanswered tries to claim a deserved 30-16 win.
Tomkins said: “It was special. I’m very lucky, people dream of making a Wigan debut and I’ve managed to do two of them.
“But I just wish the result had been different. We gave a poor showing of ourselves - we were scrappy in both attack and defence.
“At 18-16 I thought we had them, I thought they were cracking, but some poor defensive reads from us and a couple of breaks, and they got the win.”
Tomkins, back at his hometown club after two years in the NRL, was playing his first match in nine months following major knee surgery.
“I was nervous beforehand, and then before kick-off I was like a kid at Christmas-time,” added the 27-year-old.
“The good thing was my knee was fine. The only thing hurting are my lungs.”
Wigan found themselves 16 points down after as many minutes after leaking three early tries.
Oliver Gildart and the outstanding John Bateman replied, sandwiching the half-time break, before Tomkins ducked over in the 58th minute.
That set the stage for a grandstand finish but Wigan’s brief resurgence crumbled, and FC powered over for two tries to seal the win.
Coach Shaun Wane conceded they didn’t deserve the two points, which would have moved them into second-place.
“It was a soft start. We got out-muscled, out ran, out last-played... we lost a few areas,” he said. “It was not good enough. They were very good, and we were our own worst enemy.
“They had more desire. We got what we deserved.”
Wigan’s attack frequently spluttered but Wane traced those problems back to “poor detail” in defence, limiting their options and field position.
“It was just a bad day,” he said. “As a team we didn’t put them under anywhere near enough pressure. They didn’t have to earn anything.”
He was pleased with Tomkins’ contribution. “He did okay, I didn’t expect much, he scored a try, a couple of nice touches,” he added.
Anthony Gelling missed the game with a chest injury but may return for next week’s Magic Weekend clash against Leeds.
Hull FC coach Lee Radford hailed Wigan’s John Bateman as “phenomenal” after the match. “He’s arguably one of the best English players,” he said. “He was just phenomenal.”
He added: “We knew we had to be really tidy. Whoever took the opportunities was going to take the spoils.”