Wigan produced a much improved performance to hold undefeated Nottingham Forest to a 0-0 draw at the DW Stadium last night. In a fiercely competitive match Latics probably deserved to edge the victory but some wayward finishing meant the points were shared.
Prior to game Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan had spoken to the players and given reassurances about Uwe Rösler‘s leadership and this seemed to galvanise the team.
Latics adopted a 4-3-3 formation and made four changes to the team defeated at Bournemouth, with Andy Delort, Emyr Huws, James McClean and Callum McManaman coming in for Marc-Antoine Fortune, Martyn Waghorn, Rob Kiernan and Adam Forshaw.
Wigan started on the front foot with Callum McManaman posing a major threat down the right hand side. But Forest responded and nearly took the lead when Eric Lichaj fired a cross from the left towards the far post but Michail Antonio blazed over the bar from close range.
Latics soon regained the upper hand with James McClean at the centre of the action. The Republic of Ireland international nearly gave the home team the lead when he played a neat one-two with Andy Delort and acrobatically volleyed just over the crossbar.
Latics continued to dominate, with the midfield three of Huws, Don Cowie and William Kvist linking up well. But they were unable to turn their possession into goals and the teams went into the interval level.
Forest created the first opening of the second half, with Britt Assombalonga forcing a save from Scott Carson. Latics responded with Delort forcing a save from Karl Darlow at the other end.
McClean continued to look the most likely scorer and carved out a great opening for himself when he outwitted three Forest defenders and found himself with the goal at his mercy, but he blazed wide of the right hand post.
Forest were producing some rugged challenges and referee Kevin Wright adopted a far too lenient approach for the Wigan fans. Hunt, Mancienne and Lansbury were all booked for Forest but it could so easily have been so many more.
With fifteen minutes remaining Latics nearly made their dominance count when left-back Andrew Taylor smashed a looping volley just wide of the right hand post.
However, the visitors might have stolen the points with eight minutes remaining when Chris Burke’s dangerous cross evaded everybody in the six yard box, much to the relief of the Latics fans.
Man of the Match McClean continued to pose Latics biggest threat right up to the final whistle, but despite his best efforts he was unable to force the win.
This was a great improvement on recent showings and despite rumours to the contrary showed the unity in the Latics camp.
The players had shown the desire and commitment that has been lacking in recent games. The pace and tempo were much higher than recently and if only they can find a cutting edge the results will surely come.
The players stayed on the pitch at the end to applaud the fans who had given their vociferous backing throughout the game. Afterwards Rösler congratulated the fans and the Chairman on their excellent support.
The motto for the evening should be ‘Progress with Unity’, now where have I heard that before?