The United youngster, who is on loan at the DW Stadium until the end of this season, played up front for much of the match and started brightly, forcing an excellent one-handed save from opposition goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic in the opening exchanges.
Buoyed by his bright start, Powell pressed on and soon opened the scoring on 22 minutes by capitalising on a horrendous mistimed punch from Handanovic to nod home from close-range and put last season’s FA Cup winners in front.
Midfielder Ben Watson added a second with another fine header from a Jean Beausejour cross prior to Maribor pulling one back after the half-time interval through Marcos Tavares, a riposte that prompted a competitive finale in the North West.
Powell was on then hand to earn his side three Group D points in the 90th minute, dancing past a couple of Slovenian defenders before drilling a low shot into the net. That match-winning strike leaves Wigan with four points from a possible six in the competition.
After the final whistle, manager Owen Coyle praised Powell’s performance in a less than familiar position: “Nick was outstanding,” the former Bolton Wanderers boss explained. “It’s not his favourite position