Jack Whatmough makes case for the defence after QPR success
Max Power's early penalty settled a tense encounter at the DW, to move Latics to within five points of the safety mark with seven games still to go.
But just as crucial was the clean sheet secured at the other end, with Whatmough, Charlie Hughes and Omar Rekik ensuring nothing got through.
"It was a very important win, we were under no illusion as to what was at stake here," acknowledged Whatmough, Latics' reigning player of the year.
"Every win, every point, is so important, and today's performance was right up there.
"I thought in the first half we played very well.
"In the second half, we showed a lot of grit and determination to keep that clean sheet.
"If you can get a clean sheet, you're going to get at least a point.
"One point is always good, but three points at this stage of the season is massive.
"As a team we defended resolutely, all the way up to Ashley Fletcher, who led the line magnificently.
"And with the attacking talent we have in the team, you know you're always in with a chance of nicking a goal."
Latics had to stand up against a physical examination, particularly in the second period.
But Whatmough says they were more than ready for it.
"Graham (Barrow) and Rob (Kelly) do a lot of work with us defenders on the training ground," revealed Whatmough, who was returning to the side after recovering from a niggle picked up in the warm-up at West Brom on March 7.
"And just before we went out, they had a word with us, and the gaffer, and told us it was going to be a battle, with plenty of aerial balls coming in.
"Defensively today, for me, I thought we ticked most boxes that we'd worked on.
"It was a very brave performance, in terms of winning all of our duels, and covering for each other when we needed to.
"We were all on the same page and the result speaks for itself."