Forte notched his 12th of the season early in the game but the home side found a leveller in the second half through Jamal Campbell-Ryce's goal on the hour mark.
Jabo Ibehre later saw red for a second bookable offence but Latics held out and both sides came away with a draw.
The game started brightly with both sides having opportunities in the first three minutes of the game.
Jose Baxter, against his former club, received the ball inside the area but Paul Rachubka was equal to the effort and parried it away.
Latics responded well and Joseph Mills' cross into the box found the feet of Ibehre in the area but Howard saved his shot comfortably.
United just started to apply the pressure to the visitors but Latics looked threatening on the counter attack.
Athletic took advantage of that and took the lead on 16 minutes. Daniel Johnson played an exquisite through ball over the top to Forte and the forward finished from inside the area to give Latics the lead.
The visitors kept up the pressure with Ibehre, Forte and Danny Philliskirk all causing problems for the Blades' defence.
Midway through the half, Johnson let fire from 18 yards which was inches from dropping under Mark Howard's goal but it resulted in a goal kick.
The visitors were in complete control and had Forte not miscontrolled the ball as he broke one-on-one with the defender on the half hour mark, Latics could have found themselves two goals ahead.
As the home side started to come back into the game, Blades' midfielder Stefan Scougall fired just wide of Rachubka's goal minutes later.
The goalkeeper had to be alive five minutes before the break as Bob Harris drove the ball in from the edge of the box but Rachubka pulled off a superb one-handed save to deny the full back.
United started the second half the stronger and won a free kick 25 yards from goal but Baxter hit his effort too high and it failed to trouble Rachubka.
Latics regained focus and started to dictate proceedings. Ten minutes into the half, Johnson was hauled to the ground on the edge of the box but could not beat Howard from the resulting free kick.
Sheffield United introduced Campbell-Ryce into the game on the hour mark and he made an instant impact as he levelled the game.
The winger had only been on the field two minutes before Craig Alcock fed the 31-year-old and he struck the ball beyond the goalkeeper to equalise for the Blades.
The home side had Latics against the ropes and Chris Basham's shot two minutes later tested the palms of Rachubka but he saved comfortably.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining, Latics looked to regain their advantage. First, Johnson fired high and wide from 30 yards and five minutes later, Mills struck inches wide from 20 yards.
Most of the home play was coming from goalscorer Campbell-Ryce but Latics' defenders were doing well to deal with the crosses into the box.
With only five minutes left, striker Ibehre picked up his second booking of the afternoon and Latics had to play the final minutes of the game with ten men.
Controversy followed two minutes later as substitute Dominic Poleon was held back by McEveley, who was the last man, but he came away with a yellow card which incensed manager Lee Johnson.
From the resulting free kick, Jones' delivery into the box fell perfectly onto the head of Forte but it fell just wide of the post as Latics knocked on the door.
The fourth official added five minutes onto the game but the visitors' pressing caused United into mistakes and the referee finally blew time on the game to seal a point from Bramall Lane for Latics.
Sheffield United: Howard, Alcock, Harris, Basham, Flynn, Doyle, Murphy, Scougall, Baxter (Campbell-Ryce 61'), McEveley, McCarthy.
Subs not used: McGahey, Reed, De Girolamo, Turner, Kennedy, Adams.
Oldham Athletic: Rachubka, Kusunga, J.Wilson, Dieng, Mills, Kelly, Jones, Johnson (Poleon 80'), Philliskirk, Forte, Ibehre.
Subs not used: Etheridge, Lockwood, Mellor, Winchester, Tidser, Dayton.
Goals: Sheffield United (Campbell-Ryce 63') 1-1 Oldham Athletic (Forte 16')