Goalkeeper Brice Samba was the hero for Nottingham Forest as unlucky Wigan were beaten 1-0 at the City Ground.
The Reds stopper made three vital saves, including one that kept out a second-half penalty from Josh Windass, as Paul Cook’s side pushed their play-off chasing opponents all the way.
In the end Tobias Figueiredo’s 60th-minute header was enough to secure three points for Sabri Lamouchi’s side, who were lifted back into the top six as a result.
But the home side were left to hang on in the final stages, as Wigan looked to secure what would have been a precious point in their fight against relegation.
When Cedric Kipre clumsily pulled down Lewis Grabban it gave Forest a free-kick in a dangerous position but Joao Carvalho’s curling shot was sent straight into the defensive wall.
A good passing move ended with Sammy Ameobi feeding Matty Cash just inside the box, but his low shot lacked power. When Carvalho was picked out on the left side of the area, his cut back only narrowly failed to pick out Grabban.
Wigan were almost rewarded for a positive spell of their own, with Joe Williams denied by a sharp save at his near post from Samba in the Forest goal.
Forest were finding it a grind against a side that had not won since they beat Forest at the DW Stadium back in October and the home fans were getting restless.
A better passing move ended with a shooting chance for Carvalho but his effort was wild from the edge of the box.
And it was Wigan who came closer again, as a fierce shot from Williams deflected narrowly wide of the upright.
The visitors had been the better side for long spells but it was still Forest who were kicking themselves for not going into half-time with the lead.
Grabban uncharacteristically headed wide when presented with a fine chance by Ryan Yates, who delivered a precise ball to the far post late in the half.
Nathan Byrne missed a superb chance for Wigan early in the second half, sprinting clear with great pace only to then jab a shot wide at the vital moment.
Forest made two changes, bringing on Joe Lolley and Tiago Silva in the 56th minute, and the latter had an immediate impact as he delivered a corner from the left side from which the home side took the lead.
The Portuguese sub’s cross was inch-perfect, picking out his fellow countryman, Figueiredo, to glance a header across goal, sending it looping inside the far post.
Forest had already survived one penalty claim when Jamal Lowe had gone down in the box. But there was to be no reprieve when Alfa Semedo slid in with a clumsy challenge on sub Joe Gelhardt, seconds after he had come on, in the 77th minute.
Windass put the ball on the spot but Samba dived to his left to make a fine save, keeping out a penalty that was not quite fired into the bottom corner.
The Forest keeper then made another great save, keeping out an effort from Antonee Robinson at his near post.
There was a nervous finale for the home side, as Wigan threw everything they had at forcing an equaliser.
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