John Coleman was relieved to see his Accrington side get their play-off charge back on track with a 3-1 win over Wigan, who dropped back into the relegation zone.
Stanley had lost their last three games but victory left them three points outside the top six in a tightly-packed table.
It was a frantic start, with Wigan taking the lead inside 40 seconds through Callum Lang.
Stanley replied in the third minute when Cameron Burgess leapt highest to head home a Sean McConville free-kick.
Stanley took the lead in the 15th minute when a McConville free-kick was forced home by Michael Nottingham.
The Reds then increased their advantage in the 61st minute after McConville was fouled in the area by Tendayi Darikwa and Dion Charles rifled home the penalty.
“This is our biggest win of the season, I think it’s our best win after the run we have been on,” said Coleman. “You can see how pleased the lads are, how hard they have worked.
“They never leave anything on the pitch and I am pleased for them.
“Wigan are dangerous, they have had some good results and got off to a dream start but to come back from that is a big plus.
“We got the goals at the right time and we did well to keep them at bay.
“It was a real captain’s performance from Sean McConville. We put him up front when we lost Paul Smyth in the warm-up and he was at the heart of everything, he hit the bar, was involved in all the goals and used his experience in spades.
“I said to Cam (Burgess) before the match that it was time for him to step up to the mark in front of goal and we got two goals from defenders, and then a long-awaited penalty.
“We have waited 24 games for one and it’s felt like 24 years!”
Coleman dedicated the win to former player Steve Jagielka, who was part of the Stanley team which won the Conference in 2006. He died this week.
“Jags would have enjoyed that type of game, he always worked his socks off for the club. I am still struggling to come to terms with his death but that performance would have reflected him.”
Wigan chief Leam Richardson was also a former team-mate of Jagielka at Stanley and managed Accrington in 2012-13.
His team were unbeaten in three coming into the game and he was disappointed with the loss.
He said: “I have played here and managed here and worked with John’s teams and I know the first thing you have to do is to match their fight. We didn’t do that today.
“I am disappointed, we came prepared, we knew what they would do and then we succumbed to it. If you lose the fight you won’t win here.
“It’s the first time this new group of lads have dipped below the standards they have set. No-one is more frustrated than them as they lost their individual battles and it won’t happen again.
“We did not do the basics, we had a great start to the game but then they won with two balls into the box where there was no contact or endeavour.
“The lads know how I feel about it but it will stay in the dressing room.”