Wigan remain in the bottom three but moved level on points with Blackburn in 17th place following their victory over Stoke City at the DW Stadium.
Antolin Alcaraz's second-half header gave them the lead before Victor Moses sealed victory with a late goal.
Ryan Shawcross had Stoke's best chance with Ali Al Habsi saving his header.
Jean Beausejour and Franco Di Santo wasted great chances for Wigan before Moses struck to help give the Latics a real chance of survival.
The result means Wigan have 28 points, the same as QPR and Blackburn above them, although Steve Kean's men have a game in hand.
"These could be three vital, vital points for Wigan at the end of the season as they look to beat the drop. The players and the fans can now start to believe that they can beat the drop. Wigan might just pull off the great escape again."
Wigan's day could have been better had Bolton not come from behind to beat Wolves, while QPR also pulled off a shock victory over Arsenal.
Nonetheless with seven games remaining, Roberto Martinez's men have given themselves a great chance of pulling off another great escape.
This was a meeting of the league's two lowest scorers and it showed in a first half of woeful finishing.
Beausejour missed the best opportunity, inexplicably skewing the ball wide when presented with an open goal following Moses' cross.
Earlier Di Santo had failed to keep his nerve when one on one with Begovic, firing straight at the Stoke keeper's legs after blocking Marc Wilkinson's clearance.
At the other end Wigan had keeper Al Habsi to thank for keeping out Shawcross's front-post header while Begovic was also called into action, pulling off a decent save from Shaun Maloney's volley.
But by in large this was a half short on quality with the Latics showing why they have won just one league game at home all season.
Stoke survived a penalty shout a minute after the restart with Dean Whitehead clearly handling from James McArthur's cross but referee Mark Clattenburg waved away Wigan's appeals.
Wigan continued in the ascendancy and got the goal they so desperately needed with Alcaraz powering home a header from close range following Beausejour's fine cross from the left.
The omens looked good for a Wigan victory with Stoke having scored only 10 goals away from home all season and the Potters brought on Ricardo Fuller and Wilson Palacios to help inject some energy into their play.
But it was Wigan who looked the more likely to score and Beausejour missed his second decent chance of the game, mis-hitting at the back post when a decent connection would have made it 2-0.
As the game drew to a conclusion, Wigan became increasingly nervous and Jerome fired over from just inside the box after the hosts failed to clear their lines.
But in the last minute Martinez's men sealed victory with Moses taking advantage of a mix-up in the Stoke defence to race clear, round the keeper and slot into the empty net.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez said: " We've had seven draws at home when I felt we were as dominant as today. It's a real sign of maturity within the squad, a sign that we're learning with every game.
"That's very important, it's going to help our confidence. But I do feel this is the best season of the three that I've had with Wigan. We've started to get the results now and this group of players deserve that.
"Going forward we created chances, we looked lively, we missed some really good opportunities but that didn't affect us to keep going forward, and then the first goal is an outstanding bit of football.
"It was a very complete performance and magnifies how important the win at Anfield was. It was a historic day at Liverpool but if you don't win at home after that the points mean nothing."
Stoke manager Tony Pulis said: "I'm more upset with the way we played.
"I thought Wigan were the better team, they played better on the day. It's very difficult for me to be critical of the team and the players because we've done so well lately and we've had a real tough run of games.
"There's incidents in every game you can pick out but it doesn't take away from the fact Wigan deserved the three points."
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +3:10
James McCarthy concedes a free kick for a foul on Peter Crouch. Free kick taken by Dean Whitehead.90:00 +2:03 Goal scored
Goal! - Victor Moses - Wigan 2 - 0 Stoke Victor Moses gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Wigan 2-0 Stoke.88:15
Jordi Gomez takes a shot. Asmir Begovic makes a save.87:29
Jordi Gomez takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Shawcross. Corner taken short by Jordi Gomez.85:46 Substitution
Substitution Conor Sammon replaces Jean Beausejour.85:46
Cameron Jerome produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.84:54
Peter Crouch takes a shot. Save by Ali Al Habsi.83:37
The referee blows for offside against Cameron Jerome. Indirect free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.80:58 Substitution
Substitution Jordi Gomez joins the action as a substitute, replacing Franco Di Santo.80:01
Emmerson Boyce fouled by Ricardo Fuller, the ref awards a free kick. Gary Caldwell takes the free kick.77:54
Andy Wilkinson delivers the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Ryan Shawcross misses to the left of the goal.77:14
James McArthur challenges Wilson Palacios unfairly and gives away a free kick. Glenn Whelan takes the free kick.76:07
Free kick awarded for a foul by Cameron Jerome on Maynor Figueroa. Ali Al Habsi takes the direct free kick.75:02
Ben Watson takes the free kick.75:02 Booking
Booking Andy Wilkinson is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.74:58
Andy Wilkinson concedes a free kick for a foul on Jean Beausejour.74:16
Robert Huth concedes a free kick for a foul on James McCarthy. Direct free kick taken by Ben Watson.70:40
The ball is sent over by Ben Watson, Jean Beausejour has an effort at goal. Asmir Begovic makes a comfortable save.70:40 Booking
Booking Booking for Dean Whitehead for unsporting behaviour.
Dean Whitehead concedes a free kick for a foul on Victor Moses.68:54
Ali Al Habsi restarts play with the free kick.68:54 Substitution
Substitution Ben Watson replaces Shaun Maloney.68:54
The referee blows for offside.68:27
Franco Di Santo is penalised for a handball. Direct free kick taken by Glenn Whelan.67:30
The ball is sent over by Shaun Maloney, blocked by Glenn Whelan.64:21 Substitution
Substitution (Stoke) makes a substitution, with Wilson Palacios coming on for Jermaine Pennant.64:21 Substitution
Substitution Jonathan Walters leaves the field to be replaced by Ricardo Fuller.63:16
The ball is sent over by Emmerson Boyce, save by Asmir Begovic.62:26
Antolin Alcaraz gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Glenn Whelan. Dean Whitehead restarts play with the free kick.57:57
Shaun Maloney challenges Dean Whitehead unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jermaine Pennant crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance made by James McCarthy.56:43
Peter Crouch gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gary Caldwell. James McArthur takes the free kick.55:53
Robert Huth challenges James McCarthy unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Gary Caldwell.54:00 Goal scored
Goal! - Antolin Alcaraz - Wigan 1 - 0 Stoke Antolin Alcaraz finds the net with a headed goal from inside the penalty area. Wigan 1-0 Stoke.53:58
Assist by Jean Beausejour. Jean Beausejour produces a cross,53:35
Gary Caldwell takes the free kick.53:35 Booking
Booking Booking for Glenn Whelan.53:30
Unfair challenge on Maynor Figueroa by Glenn Whelan results in a free kick.53:14
Victor Moses takes a shot. Robert Huth gets a block in.49:52
Victor Moses fouled by Glenn Whelan, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Maynor Figueroa.49:32
Free kick awarded for a foul by Maynor Figueroa on Jermaine Pennant. Jermaine Pennant takes the direct free kick.48:04 Substitution
Substitution Matthew Etherington leaves the field to be replaced by Cameron Jerome.46:59
Antolin Alcaraz takes a shot. Glenn Whelan gets a block in.45:38
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Victor Moses from the right by-line, Peter Crouch manages to make a clearance.45:01
The referee starts the second half.45:00 +3:03 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.45:00 +1:32
Free kick awarded for a foul by James McArthur on Peter Crouch. Jermaine Pennant delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel. The official flags Ryan Shawcross offside. Ali Al Habsi restarts play with the free kick.44:27
The official flags Peter Crouch offside. Gary Caldwell restarts play with the free kick.43:36
The referee gives a free kick against Victor Moses for handball. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.40:40
Foul by James McArthur on Glenn Whelan, free kick awarded. Asmir Begovic takes the direct free kick.39:29
The ball is crossed by Victor Moses, mishit shot by Jean Beausejour. Victor Moses decides to take the corner short.38:47
Robert Huth concedes a free kick for a foul on Franco Di Santo. Franco Di Santo restarts play with the free kick.37:41
Jermaine Pennant concedes a free kick for a foul on Jean Beausejour. Ali Al Habsi restarts play with the free kick.36:20
Franco Di Santo takes a shot. Robert Huth gets a block in.36:03
Marc Wilson takes a shot. Save made by Ali Al Habsi.33:43
Direct free kick taken by Dean Whitehead.33:43 Booking
Booking Emmerson Boyce receives a yellow card.32:57
Ryan Shawcross takes the direct free kick. Emmerson Boyce concedes a free kick for a foul on Matthew Etherington.32:57 Booking
Booking Jean Beausejour receives a caution.32:54
Jean Beausejour concedes a free kick for a foul on Jermaine Pennant.32:01
Shot by Jonathan Walters from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.30:59
Jean Beausejour concedes a free kick for a foul on Jermaine Pennant. Direct free kick taken by Glenn Whelan.30:37
The referee blows for offside against Peter Crouch. Antolin Alcaraz takes the indirect free kick.29:52
Centre by Shaun Maloney, clearance made by Marc Wilson.25:09
Free kick crossed right-footed by Shaun Maloney from right channel, clearance by Ryan Shawcross.25:09 Booking
Booking Marc Wilson goes into the referee's book.25:01
Marc Wilson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Victor Moses.22:49
Dean Whitehead concedes a free kick for a foul on James McArthur. Direct free kick taken by Gary Caldwell.19:10
Maynor Figueroa has an effort at goal from a long way out that misses to the right of the target.18:50
Corner taken short by Victor Moses.16:33
The assistant referee signals for offside against Andy Wilkinson. Maynor Figueroa restarts play with the free kick.15:23
Jermaine Pennant fouled by Jean Beausejour, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Jermaine Pennant from right wing, James McCarthy manages to make a clearance.14:29
A cross is delivered by Victor Moses, Shaun Maloney takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Shaun Maloney, save made by Asmir Begovic.11:37
Gary Caldwell challenges Asmir Begovic unfairly and gives away a free kick. Asmir Begovic takes the direct free kick.11:03
Shaun Maloney takes a shot. Blocked by Andy Wilkinson. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Shaun Maloney, Asmir Begovic makes a save.10:34
Short corner taken by Shaun Maloney from the left by-line.8:09
A cross is delivered by Jermaine Pennant, clearance made by Gary Caldwell.6:57
Andy Wilkinson delivers the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Peter Crouch goes harmlessly over the crossbar.4:46
Franco Di Santo takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic. Corner taken by Shaun Maloney played to the near post, clearance made by Glenn Whelan.4:22
Jermaine Pennant takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post.1:58
Gary Caldwell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Walters. Glenn Whelan takes the direct free kick.1:00
Centre by Maynor Figueroa.0:11
Victor Moses challenges Robert Huth unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ryan Shawcross takes the free kick.0:00
The referee gets the game underway.
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