Wigan Athletic missed an opportunity to move out of the bottom three with an insipid performance against fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest at the DW Stadium.
Latics’ manager Warren Joyce selected a team without any attack-minded wide players in a 4-4-1-1 formation and his team lacked the creativity to overcome a Forest team lacking in confidence after they had lost their previous three games.
In a game of poor quality both teams failed to create any clear-cut chances and neither keeper had to make any serious saves.
Latics remain in 22nd spot still two points behind Bristol City in 21st place who have one game in hand. Forest remain in 18th place six points ahead of Latics.
Joyce made changes to the starting line-up from the team which lost at QPR with Shaun MacDonald returning in midfield, Mikael Mandron replacing Will Grigg up front and Jamie Hanson replacing Callum Connolly in defence.
Right from the kick off Latics players appeared bemused by Joyce’s team selection and tactical changes and they struggled to build any momentum.
Latics had a couple of half chances early on when Omar Bogle smashed an effort across the face of the goal and then fired an effort from the edge of the box wide of Jordan Smith’s left post.
Forest had a shout for a penalty when striker Ben Brereton went down under a challenge from Stephen Warnock but the referee waved away the penalty appeal. Britt Assombalonga had a shot from inside the box just before the interval but Matt Gilks saved comfortably.
Latics lacked any real attacking threat in the first half and it was obvious that Joyce’s tactics weren’t working but the manager didn’t make any changes in formation or personnel at the interval and they continued to lack any width going forward in the second half.
Joyce did make a double change on 58 minutes with Gabriel Obertan and Alex Gilbey replacing Max Power and Mikael Mandron but the manager persisted with his formation which lacked any attacking purpose down the flanks.
Forest might have grabbed a shock lead on 62 minutes when Eric Lichaj’s shot went just wide of Gilks’ right hand post, but the game then continued in its tiresome way towards stalemate.
Latics rarely threatened despite enjoying the majority of possession and any hope of victory was thwarted by the withdrawal of Bogle replaced by Grigg on 83 minutes. It appeared that the Wigan manager was more concerned with not losing rather than going for the win by having forwards Grigg, Bogle and Obertan on the pitch together.
Forest might have grabbed an unmerited winner on 89 minutes when Worrall got on the end of Ben Osborn’s free-kick, but it was wide and Latics were unable to create any meaningful chances in the final three minutes of added time.
Wigan have a miserable record at home in the Championship with only three wins and they are also the lowest scorers in the division.
They had wasted a great opportunity to secure a vital three points by overcoming a poor Forest team who offered very little threat and were low on confidence. Warren Joyce seemed obsessed with not losing the game and he didn’t do enough to try to win it. If this approach continues it will ultimately cost Latics their Championship status.