Wigan Athletic progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable victory over Nottingham Forest at the DW Stadium.
Forest are three places above Latics in the Championship table but it was the lower placed team who dominated throughout.
Latics went ahead through Will Grigg just before half time and consolidated their lead through Yanic Wildschut on 57 minutes.
Forest were given a way back into the game on 81 minutes when Latics conceded a sloppy penalty but debutant keeper Jakob Haugaard saved Eric Lichaj’s spot kick and any hopes of a comeback were thwarted.
The home team made two changes to the starting line up from the recent defeat to Huddersfield with new loan signing Haugaard making his debut in goal and Sam Morsy returning from his Barnsley loan in midfield.
Latics started on the front foot and pressed their opponents from the kick-off. Their first opportunity came on seven minutes when they won a free kick on the edge of the Forest area.
Nick Powell blasted the resultant free-kick narrowly wide of Stephen Henderson’s right hand post.
Minutes later Powell had to be withdrawn after suffering a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury and was replaced by Jordi Gomez.
Morsy was in the thick of the action and involved in most of Latics best moves.
It had been something of a surprise to see Morsy in the starting line up given that Latics had agreed a transfer fee with Barnsley and the player was in the process of agreeing personal terms with the Tykes.
The Eqyptian midfielder might have found the net on 10 minutes when in space just inside the box, but he somehow failed to make contact with Wildschut’s low cross, the ball then fell to Michael Jacobs whose subsequent shot was wide of the target.
Forest had an opportunity on 13 minutes from Hildeberto Pereira’s free-kick, but Jacobs managed to deflect the shot for a corner.
Morsy then had two great chances to open the scoring, firstly firing wide from Wildschut’s pull-back and secondly, when he chested the ball down and his shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Latics were in almost complete control with some neat passing football.
Grigg started a great move when he controlled the ball and turned on the halfway line before feeding Jacobs down the right. The midfielder beat his marker and crossed to the near post and although the ball was initially cleared it fell straight to Gomez, but his shot spun over the crossbar.
Just when it was looking like Forest would hold out until the interval Latics went ahead.
Stephen Warnock broke free down the left hand side and crossed for Grigg at the near post and the striker made no mistake for his seventh goal of the season.
Latics continued to be in control at the beginning of the second half as Forest offered only limited resistance.
Grigg might have doubled the lead almost from the kick-off as he got on the end of Dan Burn’s pass but his effort was just wide.
Jacobs fired wide of Henderson’s goal on 51 minutes and was then denied by a superb last ditch tackle from Michael Mancienne soon afterwards.
But on 57 minutes Latics went two up through Wildschut. The powerful Dutchman played a neat one-two with Warnock down the left and cut into the box before firing a low drive past Henderson. It was no more than Latics good play had deserved.
Forest were gifted an opportunity to get back into the game on 81 minutes when an unnecessary foul by Gomez on Lica gave Forest a penalty.
However, they failed to take their opportunity as keeper Haugaard saved Eric Lichaj’s driven penalty with his legs.
Local boy Jordan Flores replaced Grigg late on and nearly made a name for himself when his curling shot went narrowly wide of Henderson’s post.
It was a much improved performance by Latics as they recorded their first win in seven home games. But they will also be aware that Forest put in a poor display and have now gone seven games without a win in all competitions.
Latics will be hoping that manager Warren Joyce’s first home victory can kickstart their progress towards Championship survival starting with the crunch game at Burton Albion next Saturday.