Uwe Rösler must have been satisfied with the performance of his team last night as they went toe to toe with table topping Nottingham Forest, the only thing missing in a highly entertaining games were goals and there was a marked improvement by the Latics on recent performances.
Rösler made four changes from Saturdays defeat at Bournemouth, McClean, Delort, McManaman and Kvist all in the starting line-up with Fortune and Forshaw dropping to the bench, whilst Kiernan and Waghorn missed out completely.
The Latics looked much more of a threat than of late, James McClean was on fire with several rampaging runs that had the Forest defence on the back foot. Whilst at the back they looked solid, reverting to a flat back four with Boyce and Ramis forming a solid partnership at centre backs, Kvist was mopping up just in front and the team had a good foundation.
It was Forest though who had the games first serious attempt, the ball fell kindly for Antonio but the former Sheffield Wednesday man blazed over. The Latics responded with a fantastic move, McClean picked the ball up just in the Forest half, he charged forward and played a one-two with Andy Delort before acrobatically hitting an over head strike that flew inches over the bar.
The games was finally poised at the break, neither side managing to create a clear cut opportunity to stick in the net, though the excitement was high. The Latics were forced to make a change at half time, Leon Barnett coming on for the injured Emmerson Boyce, who left the ground on crutches and in a leg brace, but Barnett stepped up to the mark and kept the dangerous Assombalonga quiet with a strong display of his defensive duties.
James McClean created a fabulous chance for himself, he barged through three Forest defenders at lightning speed, got himself into the box and, under pressure, took a strike with his weaker right foot that fizzed past the far post.
The game finished with neither side able to find the elusive goal to get the three points, the Latics perhaps just shading the play, but it was the performance and response from Saturday that was the most pleasing aspect of the night, that and the tremendous support from the home stands including the showing of support for the boss with the singing of ‘Uwe, Uwe Rösler’ for long periods.
More performances like this and we will be back on the right tracks.
Latics – Carson, Taylor, Ramis, McClean, Huws, McManaman (Maloney 58), Boyce (Barnett 46), Cowie (Riera 73), Perch, Kvist, Delort
Unused subs – Al Habsi, Tavernier, Forshaw, Fortune
Nottingham Forest – Darlow, Lichaj, Mancienne, Wilson, Assombalonga, Lansbury, Hunt, Antonio, Burke, Tesche, Osborn (Fryatt 72)
Unused subs – De Vries, Harding, Fox, Veldwijk, Lascelles, Grant