Dominance of possession couldn’t provide the points as Latics are edged out in the East Midlands
NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
After an opening 25 minutes packed with chances Latics were undone against the run of play as a fortunate opener and free kick on the stroke of half time settled the game.
It was a game dominated by the away side with possession statistics well in favour of Latics at over 60%.
John Doolan rotated his side for the trip to Nottingham with injuries taking over and providing only two substitutes.
The same style of Latics side came out despite the reduction in numbers and in the opening stages they had Forest on the ropes.
With the first of five first half chances, Bradley Anderson crashed a shot into the side netting.
He proceeded to narrowly hit two shots over and also cracked the cross bar in what was the best move of the match.
Latics built up possession from the back and with 15 passes worked it forward with Joey Johnson providing the play-making threat.
His wide ball out to Jamie Gibson was then delivered into the box by the full back and Anderson gambled but clipped his side-footed volley off the top of the bar.
Man of the match Johnson continued to cause Forest problems and minutes later he cut the ball back to Luke Ainscough on the edge of the area, who saw his right footed shot tipped away with one hand by the Forest goalkeeper.
Just as Latics looked to be breaking down the defensive wall Forest capitalised.
Possession was lost inside Forest’s half as the home side counter knocking the ball into the corner down the left.
The cut back wasn’t read by the defence and with a lofted ball into the box, Forest midfielder Tom Gamblen controlled it with his hip at the front post and smashed it in from close range.
Latics continued to work the ball and play good football but just moments before half time Forest had doubled their lead.
Ainscough conceded a free kick 20-yards out right of the box and with one swift and curling shot from Wilfred Gnahore, Mike Cottrill was caught out as the ball bent round the wall and over his head, the ‘keeper getting just his fingertips on the ball.
The second half belonged to Latics again in the run of play but, misfortune raised its head again when the inspired Johnson curled a left footed shot onto the post after an excellent exchange on the edge of the area with Anderson.
After the game Latics’ manager John Doolan praised his team’s efforts but was left frustrated at the result.
“We’ve dominated the game and somehow they’ve scored two goals.
“There were a few players in their team that played when they beat us in the cup last season but, the lads have come out and out-played them.
“We had to rotate a few players because of injury and illness but all I can say is we played really well and the results are only a matter of time from coming.”
Forest: Ackroyd, Fenton (Thomas), Gorman, Sebastiao, Mulraney, Hollingsworth, Gamblen (Yates), Gnahore, Petravicius, Elliott (Palmer-Samuels)
Unused subs: Myles, Otim
Latics: Cottrill, Gibson (Leigh 70), Johnstone, Wilson, Mason (Gibbons 70), Ainscough, Meadows, Flores, Johnson, Anderson, Hamilton