Latics survived a late Dorking revival to mark the first home game of Frank Rothwell’s ownership with all three points in front of the BT Sport cameras.
John Sheridan’s men were cruising at 3-0 up with 20 minutes to go, but a last-ditch two-goal salvo saw the home side tasked with closing out six minutes of nervy injury time.
But Athletic stuck to their task and were eventually rewarded with a victory from a contest in which they were the more dangerous side.
Hallam Hope put Latics in front early on before Chris Porter and Ben Tollitt added further goals in the second half.
Two late goals cut the advantage and prompted a rearguard action to hold off the visitors.
The arrival of the new ownership group has revitalised the club and despite the late scare, Latics got there in the end in front of a bumper crowd of 8,412 on a day of high celebration.
A stirring pre-match speech from chairman Rothwell set the scene, but once the build-up had died down it was time to get down to business on the pitch.
Only six minutes had elapsed when a deft Porter flick found strike partner Hope, who headed wide from the edge of the six-yard box.
But the striker quickly atoned six minutes later; Tollitt intercepting a loose pass and teeing up Hope who swept a tidy finish into the far corner to help settle pre-match nerves.
Dorking – who kicked off their season with a draw against Chesterfield in their opening fixture – moved the ball well from the off and twice forced good reflex saves from Magnus Norman.
Hope thought he’d grabbed a second but saw a close-range header disallowed for offside just after the half-hour, while the frontman deserved better as he scythed a shot inches wide following great approach play from Porter.
Dorking did threaten just before the break through a Bobby-Joe Taylor free-kick which flashed just wide, but Latics started to pull away in the second half.
Porter notched his first goal of his second spell at the club with a confident finish from the left of goal, and the points were seemingly safe with 23 minutes to play courtesy of a thundering finish from Tollitt, who netted with the aid of a deflection.
But a position of dominance gave way to a nervous finale as Dorking hit back.
First Joshua Taylor converted with a neat stooping header to reduce the deficit, which was cut further when Alfie Rutherford converted from close range with three minutes remaining in normal time.
The visitors piled forward in six minutes of added time to no avail to ensure the celebratory mood was maintained.
Latics: Norman, Clarke, Francis-Angol, Hogan (C), Sheron, Burgess (McGahey, 87), Cooper, Tollitt, Porter (Fondop, 63), Hope (Luamba, 76).
Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Vaughan.
Dorking: Huk, Philpot, B Taylor, Harris (Gallagher, 70), McManus, McShane, Wheeler (Mekki, 62), J Taylor, Moore, Seager (Jebb, 59), Rutherford.
Subs Not Used: El-Abd, Kennedy, Gallagher.