The match began in tense, scrappy fashion as both sides struggled to find their way into the game.
Richard O'Donnell, however, had to be called into action when he emphatically kept out a deflected Spireites free kick 16 minutes in.
Midway through the half, there were claims for a Chesterfield penalty as Donervon Daniels was penalised for a push, but the initial foul was judged to have been made outside of the area.
The Latics continued to press with increasingly dangerous chances as a Craig Davies free kick seven minutes before the break fell to Daniels, but his left-footed drive sailed wide.
Both sides upped their tempo in the closing stages of the first half, but none of their efforts came to fruition as the two teams went in level at the break.
Wigan struggled to withstand their opponents' attacking play and soon found themselves behind when, just after the hour, Dan Gardner curled the ball beyond O'Donnell and into the top-right corner.
The versatile 29-year-old, however, made amends in the 81st minute when he sent a stinging volley into the bottom-left corner to pull his side back to within a goal.
In the latter stages of the game, Wigan had the chance to draw level when Chris McCann was brought down in the box, and Davies duly drove the ball into the bottom corner from the penalty spot.