Wigan Athletic maintained their excellent home record with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against high-fliers Nottingham Forest at the DW Stadium.
Latics rode their luck at times but battled hard for a deserved three points against a Forest team who were aiming to go to the top of the Championship table.
Forest had two penalty appeals when Antonee Robinson pulled Sammy Ameobi’s shirt and Joe Williams’ made contact with Yuri Ribeiro, but on both occasions the offences took place outside the box.
Big striker Kieffer Moore and midfielder Joe Williams typified the battling spirit in a committed and hard working performance by the hosts.
Jamal Lowe’s first goal of the season was enough to end Forest’s unbeaten away record and move Latics up to 14th in the table.
Paul Cook made three changes from his team that lost at Sheffield Wednesday with Michael Jacobs, Lewis Macleod and Kieffer Moore coming into the team. Josh Windass and Joe Garner dropped to the bench with captain Samy Morsy suspended.
Latics started brightly and went close when Joe Williams played in Lowe but the striker’s effort was saved low down by Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba.
Chey Dunkley then headed a Jacobs corner wide but Forest started to create chances at the other end. Yuri Ribeiro wasted a glorious opportunity to open the scoring and Rafael Mir then headed a Joe Lolley cross off target from another good position.
But it was Latics who went ahead on 35 minutes when they broke quickly and Gavin Massey pulled the ball back to Lowe who forced the ball over the line from close range.
The hosts nearly doubled their lead five minutes later when acting captain Charlie Mulgrew’s excellent curled free-kick from 25-yards evaded the Forest keeper and struck the base of the right-hand post.
Latics survived some Forest pressure at the end of the first half and went into the interval 1-0 up.
Early in the second half Massey had a great opportunity when he broke clear of the Forest defence but his tame effort allowed Samba to push the ball away to safety.
Forest started to enjoy plenty of possession and had two great opportunities first Mir was played in by John Bostock but he fired wide of the target and then substitute Lewis Grabban had probably the best chance of the match but he headed straight at David Marshall when it looked easier to score.
Latics then had the chances to put the game to bed with substitute Kal Naismith’s strike from the centre of the box well saved by Samba and then later another powerful drive by Naismith was denied by the Forest keeper.
This was an important three points for Latics against Sabri Lamouchi’s team who are likely to be challenging for promotion.
Latics continue to be hard to beat at home and impressively this was the 15th home clean sheet since the start of last season.
If only Latics could repeat the clean sheets on their travels they would rapidly rise up the table.
The next challenge is an away trip to Derby County on Wednesday night. Suspended captain Samy Morsy is likely to return at Pride Park but Nathan Byrne will be suspended after picking up a booking and is likely to be replaced by Chelsea loanee Dujon Sterling.
The task facing manager Cook and his coaching staff is to find the magic formula to win away from the DW Stadium, a task that has so far eluded them this season.