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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:10 1st March 2014
By  Ed Jones

REPORT: FOREST 1 WIGAN ATHLETIC 4

Latics into the play-off positions after another incredible away day victory.

Another fantastic away day saw Uwe Rosler’s Latics notch up a fifth win in succession, a fourth in the league and a third on the road.  Martyn Waghorn, Emmerson Boyce, James McArthur and Jordi Gomez with the goals that shoot Latics into the play-Off places in the Sky Bet Championship.

To make it an even better afternoon, the defeat was inflicted on play-off rivals Nottingham Forest on their own ground, where they have only lost twice all season, sending out a signal of intent to the rest of the league.

Latics didn't have it all their own way but just as Forest equalised early in the second half and threatened to undo all the good work by building up a head of steam, Latics moved up a gear and simply blew Forest away with as impressive a display of controlled passing and finishing as you could hope to see - stunning.

Latics created some good openings early on, firstly a James McClean cross was diverted for a corner by Danny Fox under pressure from Maynard before Waghorn and Maynard both skewered shots wide of Karl Darlow’s left upright. Chris McCann then saw his goalbound effort strike Maynard and divert for a goalkick.

Latics threatened again when Leon Barnett failed to connect with Waghorn’s corner from a good position but McCann’s follow up almost reached the outstretched foot of James Perch, just in front of Darlow.

The pressure finally paid off after 36 minutes when Jordi Gomez played a neat one-two with James McArthur near the right hand touchline, opening up the space for Gomez to drive in towards the box.

He shot powerfully from 20 yards, the ball deflected off two Forest defenders and fell kindly to Waghorn eight yards out, who took advantage clinically to roll the ball in from an angle, right in front of the celebrating 1,200 strong Latics following.

Forest did have a fair amount of pressure but Latics mostly dealt with their threat efficiently enough and there were really only two hairy moments before the break.

The first actually came from a Latics mistake, Leon Barnett’s poor backpass allowing Simon Cox to slip in but he put his effort wide of the onrushing Ali Al Habsi.

Then, with just three minutes remaining of the half, Jamie Paterson worked a great opening just outside the box, but his shot fizzed just over the bar.

The game exploded back into life straight from the restart and there were two attempts on goal within the first 90 seconds.

Waghorn saw his effort blocked before Jamie Mackie kept the ball in on the goal line, Al Habsi smothering his effort well at the near post.

Maynard then shot just wide as he tried to wrong-foot Darlow and the ball trickled agonisingly wide.

Then, as Maynard and McClean had efforts on goal, Forest broke away and Jean Beausejour was forced to bring down Mackie on the very edge of the box, escaping with only a yellow when the City Ground cried out for referee Stuart Atwell to pull out a red.  

The incident seemed to rattle Latics and as Forest swarmed in the Latics box, the resistance finally crumbled when Paterson latched on to a loose ball inside the box past Al Habsi, via a deflection.

Rosler immediately responded by replacing Beausejour with Stephen Crainey but Forest then went close again, danger man Mackie again causing problems down the Forest right.

Crainey brought him down and from the resultant Fox free-kick, Jamaal Lascelles headed just over.

Latics took a few minutes to settle but then started to threaten again, Waghorn’s in-swinging cross had Darlow panicking, then McClean’s cross caused more havoc.

Suddenly Latics looked back in control, forcing two quick corners. Forest cleared the ball but Gomez swung it back in from an angle, Greg Halford was only able to get a looping header to it, Waghorn volleyed goalwards, the ball bounced and Emmerson Boyce headed home at the far post.

Latics could smell blood. McArthur broke forwards and for the second week in succession smashed in a superb finish low to the keeper’s right, giving Darlow no chance.

Rosler brought on Marc-Antoine Fortune for the ever improving Maynard and Latics immediately threatened again, McLean this time smashing in an effort that flew a few inches wide of the far upright, just before replacing the excellent Waghorn to give Ryan Tunnicliffe his debut from Fulham.

The former Manchester United trainee immediately set up fellow substitute Fortune, but he shot into the side netting.

The icing on the cake came in the 90th minute with Gomez scored the goal of the afternoon, an absolutely stunning strike from 35 yards, which was applauded by the majority of the Forest fans left in the stadium by then  – what a day for Latics.