REPORT: WIGAN ATHLETIC 0 FOREST 0Wigan Athletic battled to a creditable point at home to pace-setters Nottingham Forest, in an entertaining game at the DW Stadium.
The hosts dominated the first half before the game opened up in the second interval, and James McClean had two wonderful chances either side of the whistle to steal the points for Uwe Rosler’s men, but Latics were unable to capitalise and were left to settle for a point.
Latics shuffled their pack coming into the game, making four changes from the side that lost at Bournemouth on Saturday, with Andy Delort, Emyr Huws, James McClean and Callum McManaman coming in for Marc-Antoine Fortune, Martyn Waghorn, Rob Kiernan and Adam Forshaw.
Wigan made a bright start to the game, with Callum McManaman looking particularly dangerous in the opening exchanges. The forward made some promising runs throughout the first half, and gave Forest defender Eric Lichaj a particularly hard time at the back.
Lichaj soon recovered however, and created the visitors’ first serious chance of the game in the eleventh minute, when he fired a dangerously wild shot on the left hand edge of the area towards the far post.
However, the lurking Michail Antonio was unable to control his finish from close range and blazed the ball over the bar.
Latics were soon back on the front foot however, and put together some fantastic passing moves in Forest’s area. However, the final touch was just lacking to set up a definitive one-on-one with visiting keeper Karl Darlow.
James McClean soon took matters into his own hands, and crafted a magnificent chance midway through the first half. The forward galloped inside from the left wing and put together a clever one-two with Andy Delort, before trying a magnificent bicycle kick from ten yards. However, he couldn’t quite control his shot and the ball just dipped over the bar.
The first half continued in a similar vein, with Wigan putting together some fantastic passing moves, with William Kvist, McClean and Delort all getting involved, but Uwe Rosler’s men were just lacking the final touch to finish the move.
Nottingham Forest were firmly on the back foot, and Wigan continued to press until the interval, with McManaman continuing to cause Lichaj problems down the right. Despite his and the stand-out McClean’s best efforts though, the sides went into the interval goalless.
Forest were undeterred by Latics’s first half dominance, and flew out of the blocks in the second half, with Britt Assombalonga forcing a smart save from Scott Carson. The forward blasted a shot at Carson’s left post, but the keeper was level to it and palmed the ball away to safety.
Carson was soon to turn provider, and the goalkeeper fired a gigantic kick which fed Andy Delort in the Forest area, who fired the ball at Darlow’s near post from a tight angle on the left hand side.
McClean continued to cause the visitors problems down the left with his energy and pace, and the Irishman created the best chance of the game on the hour mark.
The winger again poured pressure on Forest with his constant running and found himself through on goal in the middle of the area, where he fired wide of the post with his weaker foot.
The game was on a knife edge, but Latics almost stole the points with a barnstorming effort from Andrew Taylor sixteen minutes from time, when the left back smashed a looping volley that fell wide of the right hand post.
Forest broke immediately after, and Henri Lansbury came close with a long range shot of his own, fizzing the ball past the post from the edge of the area.
The visitors again showed their intentions eight minutes from time, with Chris Burke’s cross from the left just needing one touch to hit the back of the net, but evaded everybody and bobbled to safety.
Latics continued to search for a winner, with McClean still running relentlessly at the Forest defence. Wigan were unable to find the opening however, but took a creditable point to end their run of straight defeats.