One side in the play-off places met another just outside them at the City Ground on Saturday afternoon but it was Wigan Athletic who went into the game in better spirits having risen quickly up the table in recent weeks and also earned a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals as they continue a spirited defence of the trophy they won at Wembley last season.
Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, came into the game having been knocked out of the cup at Sheffield United before vital league games against Leicester City and Burnley saw them gain just a single point. Manager Billy Davies also has a number of injury problems to contend with including the loss of talismanic midfielder Andy Reid.
Team News: The Scot named the following XI: Darlow; Lichaj, Halford, Lascelles, Fox, Jara, Greening, Paterson, Majewski, Mackie, Cox
The Latics paired Nicky Maynard and Martyn Waghorn in attack while former Forest man James Perch also started.
1st Half: Both sides looked to attack but it was the visitors who made the breakthrough when Waghorn scored with ten minutes of the half remaining. To add to Davies' woes, Eric Lichaj was forced off through injury just before the whistle blew, replaced by Danny Collins.
2nd Half: Jamie Paterson levelled the game up within 10 minutes of the restart after good work by Simon Cox but, as both teams continued to press forward, Emmerson Boyce headed home from a corner to restore WIgan's lead.
The Latics were playing like a side full of confidence and the dangerous Waghorn set up James McArthur to make the game safe on 71 minutes, Jordi Gomez adding insult to injury with a fourth goal in stoppage time.
With Burnley beating Derby, automatic promotion looks a distant dream now the Reds and they face a battle to regroup and secure a top-six finish.