Taylor trims back Wigan's lead for vital point

Nottingham Forest 1 - Wigan Athletic 1
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The Independent Football

If Gary Megson needed any indication as to the effect Nottingham Forest's relegation scrap was having on him, he need only look at the number of his own chewing gum wrappers strewn about the technical area. But, after scraping an unlikely draw against title hopefuls Wigan, he immediately declared himself ready for more tense afternoons between now and May.

If Gary Megson needed any indication as to the effect Nottingham Forest's relegation scrap was having on him, he need only look at the number of his own chewing gum wrappers strewn about the technical area. But, after scraping an unlikely draw against title hopefuls Wigan, he immediately declared himself ready for more tense afternoons between now and May.

Megson watched his relegation-threatened side, who have now lost just one game in nine - a 6-0 drubbing at Ipswich last week - secure a crucial point through a late goal from Gareth Taylor, which in turn saw Wigan slip from the top of the table.

"Everyone had this down as an away win but we have managed to take something from the game," a proud Megson said. "We deserve credit for battling away. In the last two games, I have seen a team have a real good go.

"We have got to keep going and we are nearer [to survival] than we were four weeks ago. It could go to the wire, and we would settle for that because we have been playing catch-up for a while."

Despite a creditable draw against Leeds United during midweek, the signs were ominous early on against Wigan. Employing three centre-backs to cope with the threat of Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts in attack, Forest looked uneasy but despite scant possession did their best to hamper Wigan's forward momentum.

The nerves were beginning to show in the respective technical areas, Paul Jewell furiously pacing his, with highly animated opposite number Megson, relieving his frustration with a bout of finger-pointing directed at the referee. Jewell was not impressed on 39 minutes when he saw Ellington blaze over after a good run by Roberts.

Last week's six-goal capitulation at the hands of Ipswich aside, Nottingham Forest under Megson have become a stronger outfit during his two months in charge. However, a first half spent constantly disrupting supply lines and subduing attacks went to waste less than a minute after the break, a short-range drive by Roberts parried by Paul Gerrard into the path of Lee McCulloch, who fired Wigan into the lead with his 12th goal of the season.

But nervy Wigan were struggling to contain the home side who, much to their credit, were looking purposeful and the more likely to score the next goal. With five minutes to go it came through Taylor, who looked in an offside position as he rose high to power James Perch's cross past John Filan. The City Ground erupted.

Jewell said: "I felt that we were the better team throughout but did not hit the dizzy heights of what we were capable in a game that never really took off."

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