Second half goals from James Chester and Scott Hogan earned Villa a scrappy win at struggling Wigan.
Both scored with headers during the final 20 minutes as Steve Bruce’s team recorded their fifth win in six games.
Villa had earlier been indebted to keeper Sam Johnstone for keeping the scores level as he twice denied Michael Jacobs.
Chester then put the visitors in front 17 minutes from time before substitute Hogan sealed the points with his first goal for the club.
The 24-year-old, who had missed the previous five games with a knee injury, had been brought off the bench during the second period and the celebrations following his 86th goal, in front of nearly 5,000 travelling supporters, were considerable.
Victory continued Villa’s recent good run but it came with arguably their poorest performance for some time.
Wigan, who began the day six points from safety, looked by far the more threatening team for much of the 90 minutes and Villa were indebted to Johnstone, who made several key saves before Chester opened the scoring.
The on loan Manchester United keeper then denied Omar Bogle with arguably the best save of the lot before Hogan then made the points safe.
Bruce made one change from the team which beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 last time out, with Alan Hutton replacing the injured Nathan Baker.
Mile Jedinak, as expected, lined up at centre-back alongside Chester, with Adomah paired with Jonathan Kodjia up front.
Jedinak was involved in the best chance of the opening half, 12 minutes in. With players on both sides still getting to grips with a soggy surface, the Australian under-hit a back pass, allowing Bogle to nip in. The former Solihull Moors striker had just Johnstone to beat but was forced wide by the keeper and could only fire his finish into the side-netting.
It was by far the closest either side came to scoring in a scrappy opening period where the hosts were the only ones to look remotely threatening in attack.
Bogle and Gabriel Obertan both shot off target from distance, while Johnstone was again called into action just before the break, parrying a Jacobs free-kick after Conor Hourihane had brought down Obertan on the edge of the box.
Villa, meanwhile, looked thoroughly disjointed in the final third, top scorer Kodjia barely seeing the ball as they failed to test home keeper Matt Gilks.
Their sluggish performance continued into the second half with Johnstone again called into action to deny Jacobs, this time after the midfielder’s shot had taken a deflection off Jedinak.
Bruce introduced the fit-again Henri Lansbury and Hogan on the hour mark in an attempt to inject some impetus into his team and the latter played a big part in the opening goal.
A Villa short-corner was collected by Hourihane on the right and Gilks was unable to collect his cross under pressure from Hogan, the ball popping up for Chester to head home as the hosts appealed in vain for a foul.
It was harsh on Wigan, who had made almost all of the running to that point. The hosts were then again denied by Johnstone when the keeper tipped Bogle’s drive wide of the post.
Six minutes from time their hopes of salvaging a point were ended when Hogan headed home Adomah’s cross to send nearly 5,000 travelling fans home happy.
12 A big let-off for Villa. Mile Jedinak undersells a backpass but Omar Bogle can only hit the side-netting after trying to round keeper Sam Johnstone.
43 Another chance for the hosts after Conor Hourihane gives away a free-kick on the edge of the box. Michael Jacobs connects well with his shot but Johnstone is able to parry.
56 Johnstone again denies Jacobs, parrying a shot which deflected off Jedinak after Gary Gardner had given away possession.
73 GOAL Villa lead as Chester heads home from close range. Home keeper Matt Gilks is unable to collect under pressure from Scott Hogan at the near post and the skipper heads in.
76 A superb save from Johnstone preserves Villa’s lead. The keeper gets his fingertips to a Bogle drive to deflect it wide of the post.
84 GOAL Hogan makes it two with his first goal for the club, heading home Albert Adomah’s cross.
Wigan (3-4-2-1): Gilks, Morgan, Burn, Buxton, Hanson, MacDonald, Morsy (Gilbey 82), Kellett (Connolly 54), Obertan (Colclough 60), Jacobs, Bogle Subs not used: Perkins, Power, Bruce, Haugaard (gk).
Villa (4-4-2): Johnstone, Bree (Hogan 60), Chester ©, Jedinak, Taylor, Hutton, Gardner (Lansbury 60), Hourihane, Amavi, Adomah (Elphick 84), Kodjia Subs not used: Richards, Davis, Grealish, Bunn (gk).Subscribe to our Newsletter