Nottingham Forest were knocked out of the Premier League Cup with a 3-1 defeat against Wigan at The City Ground this evening.
Three second-half goals put The Latics beyond reach on an evening when Forest struggled to create clear-cut chances, although Ben Osborn scored a late consolation for the hosts.
Under 21s manager Jimmy Gilligan handed starts to overage players Jamie Paterson, Dorus de Vries and Lars Veldwijk, while the rest of the line-up included Jorge Grant and members of Gilligan’s Under 21s squad.
The visitors started the game brightly, forcing good work from both left back Jack Kelly and de Vries as the Forest pair battled to keep the scores level early on.
Wigan’s Jordan Flores was posing the greatest threat and on 21 minutes almost handed his side the lead when his deflected shot looped just wide of the far post.
And eight minutes later Flores was cursing the tenacity of Tyler Walker, playing at right back, when the Reds youngster made a superb last-ditch tackle to halt him in the area as he ran through one-on-one with de Vries.
Forest’s first chance of the evening fell to Oliver Burke on the half-hour mark. The winger benefited from good work by Josh Rees but could only curl the ball over the bar from a difficult angle inside the box.
A minute later, Paterson drilled the ball low towards goal from 25 yards. Wigan keeper Lee Nicholls could only parry it and Veldwijk was flagged offside as he tried to latch on to the rebound.
Forest were gradually growing into the game and ended the half on the front foot when Osborn curled the ball wide after Burke’s excellent cross was half-cleared.
The second half began with more promising play from Burke, who cut the ball back from the byline but could only watch on as Rees sent it crawling across the face of goal and just wide of the post.
But Wigan were cursing de Vries minutes later when he made an excellent save to deny Matthew Hamilton from close range.
Forest’s response came from Paterson, who skipped away from his man before firing a cross-cum-shot across goal. The ball flew just over the head of Veldwijk and wide of the far post.
The ball didn’t evade Veldwijk on 65 minutes however, when he received it in the area and turned dangerously. He could only fire straight at Nicholls.
De Vries had had a fairly quiet evening but was left helpless with 15 minutes to play when Jennings struck the ball sweetly into the top corner with a left-footed drive from the edge of the area.
Forest were straight on the attack through Osborn, whose excellent cross with his weaker right foot presented Burke with an opportunity to level the scores. The winger was always stretching to meet the ball, however, and could only head it wide.
And The Reds’ frustrations were compounded with seven minutes to play when Johnson brilliantly lifted the ball over de Vries and into the net to put the tie beyond doubt, before Declan Poole made it three on the stroke of full-time.
There was still time for Forest to make their mark, and Burke and Veldwijk both had chances to get their names on the scoresheet.
But it was left to Osborn to blast the ball home from the edge of the area to reduce the deficit in injury time.
Forest: de Vries; Kelly, Fenton (Polimos 68’), Riera, Walker; Paterson, Rees (Otim 78’), Osborn, Grant, Burke; Veldwjk
Wigan: Nicholls, Burke, Lambert (McNally 63'), Poole, Wilson, Rogne, Jennings (Robles 82’), Chow (Cvetkovic 71’), Hamilton, Johnson, Flores