Liam Farrell’s 80th minute try decided a game that had seen Saints in control after a solid opening 30 minutes, before the 10 minutes either side of half-time had turned the game on its head.
Iosia Soliola’s offload released Wheeler whose supporting run had penetrated the Wigan defensive line. Wheeler in turn fed Michael Shenton who raced away from the desperate clutches of Sam Tomkins to score.
Saints extended their lead after successive breaks from Roby and Jonny Lomax had put them in a dangerous attacking position. From the tackle on Lomax, the visitors played the ball quickly from the ruck and spread the ball wide to Jamie Foster for his eighth try in seven games.
Wigan reduced the deficit just before half-time. Sam Tomkins evaded a number of Saints defenders and then brother Joel avoided the cries of a forward pass from the travelling support as his pass found Josh Charnley to score.
Having hit back before the interval, they levelled minutes after. Tomkins entered the line from full-back and straightened a flowing move that gave George Carmont just enough space to receive the pass, and then ship it onto Pat Richards, who scored in the corner. His touchline conversion made it 10-10.
Wigan’s remarkable comeback was complete just three minutes later. This time the Warriors attacked the opposite flank and Joel Tomkins’ back-handed pass brought Charnley back on the inside and the winger crossed to put Wigan in front for the first time in the match.
Richards and Foster then traded tries and goals before Tom Makinson raced over to tilt the tie back in Saints’ favour. Foster added a penalty six minutes from time but Farrell’s try just seconds before the hooter ended Saints’ run of five unbeaten games.
Wigan: S Tomkins, Richards, J Tomkins, Carmont, Charnley, Leuluai, Deacon, Lima McIlorum, Coley, Hoffman, Hansen, O’Loughlin Subs: Prescott, Finch, Mossop, Farrell
Tries: Charnley 37, 49, Richards 46, 56, Farrell 80
Goals: Richards 46, 49, 56, 80
St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Meli, Shenton, Foster, Wheeler, Lomax, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Roby, Graham, Puletua, Wilkin, Soliola Subs: Moore, Ashurst, Magennis, Makinson
Tries: Shenton 13, Foster 26, 64, Makinson 68
Goals: Foster 26, 64, 68, 74
Referee: Richard Silverwood