A fairly nervy start from both sides nonetheless saw both sides go fairly close in the opening stages. Jordi Gomez threatened with a free-kick which spun away from the Newcastle goal from 25 yards, before the visitors also went close from a set-piece, but Steven Taylor's header from Sylvain Marveaux's corner was too close to the keeper.
Callum McManaman has been in fine form in recent weeks, and the youngster showed the good side of his game by helping to put Wigan into the lead, as he sent in a cross which Davide Santon failed to clear, and Jean Beausejour nipped in to slide the hosts into an early advantage.
The game will be remembered for a contribution from McManaman of a rather different sort, however. Not long after the goal, the winger showed the bad side to his game with a horror tackle on Massadio Haidara, after an over-the-ball challenge saw McManaman smash his studs into the full-back's knee. Haidara was duly stretchered off, and amazingly, McManaman did not even see a yellow card for one of the clearest sendings off that will happen all season.
James Perch replaced the stricken Haidara, with Jonas Gutierrez moving to left-back. Although not the most solid of players in defence, the Argentinian winger pulled off a great challenge shortly afterwards to deny James McCarthy, who was bearing down on goal with intent following a Wigan counter-attack, but Gutierrez's last-ditch tackle kept Newcastle in the game.
After half-time, Newcastle were in the ascendancy after adjusting to their changes, but struggled to pick their way through a deep Wigan defence. That changed when the hosts came forward into the Newcastle half, and after giving away the ball, the visitors sprang on the counter-attack, Papiss Cisse finding Davide Santon's run with an excellent pass, and the Italian pumped an excellent finish into the bottom corner to level the scores.
The momentum should have been with Newcastle thereafter, but it wasn't the case. Wigan responded by mounting an offensive on the Newcastle goal, and the visitors could barely escape their own half afterwards. Yet Wigan almost found themselves undone on the counter-attack again, as a lightning break through Shola Ameobi and Papiss Cisse saw the former's cross almost reach the latter, but Joel Robles was alert to prevent the danger.
With time almost at an end, it was Wigan who clinched a late winner to give themselves a huge victory. With Wigan swarming all over the Newcastle defence, a cross into the area led to a huge goalmouth scramble which bounced off Franco Di Santo's face and into the path of Arouna Kone, who stabbed the ball home to send the DW Stadium into ecstasy.