STRIKER James Vaughan made a dramatic return for Town wearing a mask to protect his fractured left cheekbone and eye socket at the DW Stadium.
Vaughan had retired with his injury after an accidental collision midway through the first half of the game at Middlesbrough last week and had expected to be ruled out for at least six weeks.
However, he took his place in the starting line-up and helped Town to only their third away win of the season.
St Helens lad Conor Coady plunged Wigan into deep relegation trouble when he curled the ball from the left corner of the area into the far top corner of Scott Carson’s net in the 82nd minute.
The first half was quite an open affair but with new signing David Edgar sitting in front of the defence, Town goalkeeper Alex Smithies had just one save to make.
Vaughan’s partner, Nahki Wells, hooked an attempt over from 12 yards before seeing a header cleared off the line by Liam Ridgewell after Scott Carson had rushed across his area after Sean Scannell had got the better of Andrew Taylor.
Central defender Mark Hudson was also denied when his flick header from Jacob Butterfield’s corner was headed off the line by Taylor at the far post.
Wigan did most of the pressing after the break but lost three players to injury and found Town centre-back Joel Lynch in top form.
Coady struck after Wells had laid the ball back to him and although they had three penalty shouts rejected, Wigan failed to test Smithies as the visitors recorded their first win in four visits to the stadium.
Manager Chris Powell felt Huddersfield fully deserved their stroke of luck as they recorded a first Sky Bet Championship away win in four months.
When asked whether Coady had meant to score, Powell paused before replying, with a huge grin on his face: “Good question...I’m just really glad he did.
“It was a cross-shot and sometimes that’s what happens - they go right into the top corner.
“It was a very welcome finish, a very welcome clean sheet and a very welcome three points.”
Coady’s goal gave the Terriers their first away win since the victory at Wolves on October 1 - at the same time increasing Wigan’s winless sequence at home which stretches back to August 30 - and opened-up an 11-point gap to the drop zone.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Powell added. “We’ve been close, but not quite close enough.
“You just need those those away points, whether it’s three or just one, to help the home form.
“We just wanted to make sure we took something today because, with Brighton winning in midweek, we didn’t want Wigan to reduce the gap.
“We wanted to widen it, and we managed to do that.
“We knew they were away at Ipswich next week and they would have been looking at this game as a real important game to try and take something from.
“We were maybe lucky with the goal, but I felt we gave ourselves a platform to get something from the game with the way we performed throughout.”
MK Dons took full advantage of joint League One leaders Swindon and Bristol City not being in league action by beating Barnsley 2-0 at stadium:mk to narrow the gap on the top two to three points.
Highly-rated teenager Dele Alli, reportedly a target for a host of Premier League sides, enhanced his reputation with his 12th goal of the season before Will Grigg doubled the Dons’ lead.
In League Two, substitute Adam McGurk secured a late point for third-placed Burton after Emile Sinclair marked his York debut with a 70th-opener.