James McCarthy celebrated his first start in the Barclays Premier League by setting Wigan on the way to their first win in six games against fellow struggles Wolves at Molineux.
McCarthy, signed last summer from Hamilton, followed up his debut goal against Hull in the FA Cup with the 59th-minute opener before Charles N'Zogbia added the second for the Latics.
Wolves goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann also saved a Hugo Rodallega penalty and both sides ended the game with 10 men as Wolves defender Richard Stearman and Wigan midfielder Hendry Thomas were sent off.
The visitors had looked the sharper side throughout with Rodallega causing problems for the shaky-looking Michael Mancienne and his fellow defenders.
N'Zogbia was also a threat with his pace and trickery and only a fine display by Hahnemann kept the score within reasonable bounds.
The Latics will also take pleasure from a rare clean sheet after conceding 31 goals on their travels this season.
But they were aided by a less than impressive home attack and it is no surprise, despite the efforts of Kevin Doyle, that they are the division's lowest scorers with just 17 goals.
Jody Craddock, making his 200th appearance for Wolves, almost played Hahnemann into trouble with an under-hit back pass but the former Reading player was able to clear as Rodallega threatened.
N'Zogbia was allowed to line up a shot after cutting in from the right but Craddock blocked his eventual drive.
Stearman became the first player to be yellow-carded for a touchline challenge on Paul Scharner while Wigan midfielder Thomas was also booked after a lunge at Stephen Ward.
Wolves looked jittery at the back and a misdirected pass from Kevin Foley allowed N'Zogbia a clear run at goal but Hahnemann parried his shot around the post.
Wigan looked the more threatening and Hahnemann needed two attempts to cling onto a low 30-yard free-kick from Thomas.
But after 18 minutes Sylvan Ebanks-Blake missed a golden chance to score his first Premier League goal in open play.
The former Plymouth player was played onside by Mario Melchiot after latching onto a pass from Nenad Milijas and he found himself with only Chris Kirkland to beat.
But, from 10 yards out, Ebanks-Blake poked his shot wide.
A long hopeful ball from Wigan debutant Gary Caldwell picked out Rodallega, who got in behind Mancienne, but he failed to make proper contact on his shot and Hahnemann was able to make the block.
Mancienne looked uncertain and failed to deal with a bouncing ball on the edge of the box and allowed Rodallega to send in his low shot which Hahnemann turned around the post.
Hahnemann was beaten by a fierce 25-yard drive from Rodallega, with Scharner the creator, but it cannoned off a post and back into play.
There was drama in the closing seconds of the half with Stearman being sent off and Hahnemann saving a penalty.
Stearman gave away a spot-kick when he tugged at the shirt of McCarthy and was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
But Hahnemann saved the penalty from Rodallega and then Scharner sent the rebound wide.
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy made a half-time switch with Matt Jarvis replaced by David Jones as he adapted a 4-3-2 formation after Stearman's red card.
The visitors also made a change with Scharner, who picked up a knock in the scramble after Hahnemann's penalty save, making way for Jordi Gomez.
Hahnemann again came to Wolves rescue when he was perfectly positioned to keep out a fierce shot from Rodallega, who had been teed up by N'Zogbia.
Wigan finally made the breakthrough after 59 minutes through McCarthy's first league goal of the campaign.
N'Zogbia shook off the challenge of Ward and squared the ball back to Rodallega who once again was denied by Hahnemann at close range. But this time the rebound fell to McCarthy who made no mistake from 12 yards.
Wigan were also reduced to 10 men after 66 minutes when Thomas committed his second bookable offence via a foul on Ward.
McCarthy immediately brought on Chris Iwelumo for Ebanks-Blake.
Wolves skipper Karl Henry was then booked for a challenge on Gomez and there was worse to come for the hosts as, with 18 minutes left, N'Zogbia doubled Wigan's lead.
The impressive Rodallega shrugged off the challenge of the lightweight Mancienne before the ball broke into the path of N'Zogbia and he cut in from the right before sending a left-footed drive into the corner of the net.
N'Zogbia went to celebrate with the Wigan fans and was yellow-carded for his actions.
Iwelumo had a fierce shot beaten away by Kirkland in a rare attack by Wolves.
Doyle was then booked for a challenge on N'Zogbia as Wolves finished well beaten.
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