Wigan and Blackburn served up a Lancashire hotpot of six goals, a penalty a sending off and a controversial goal but the home side will be the ones to consider themselves unlucky having dominated the game against a very lacklustre Blackburn side.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez opted to ring the changes replacing Watson, Boyce, Di Santo and Rodallega from the side which lost at Wolves thirteen days ago along with the enforced absence of Alcaraz through suspension, their replacements being McCarthy, Stam, Sammon and
Gomez with Caldwell also returning from suspension to skipper the side.
Much has been made of Wigan’s defence conceding soft or even comical goals and again within ninety seconds they had done it again. Caldwell failed to clear a hopeful punt forward and Yakubu beat him to the loose ball, fired towards goal, the ball hitting the advancing keeper and bobbling into the empty net, just the start the underperforming Wigan side didn’t want.
Wigan to their credit didn’t buckle and roared on by an unusually vocal crowd pouer forward with Stam on the right and Moses on the left giving the slow Rovers defence cause for concern.
Within ten minutes Wigan were level, Sammon chested a ball down and a poor clearance found Gomez who blasted an unstoppable shot past Robinson in the Rover’s goal.
Wigan continued to build momentum with a centre midfield which with the returning McCarthy and Jones supporting the irrepressible Diame looked more balanced than of late.
Moses looked back to his best and went down in the area under a heavy challenge but referee Andre Marriner waved the appeal away.
Rovers owners made a big issue of wanting to change the style of play when they sacked “big Sam” however today Rovers harked back to the old days with an over physical performance which earned them two bookings in the first fifteen minutes for Rochina and Dunn the latter which was to prove costly.
Wigancontinued to press and a corner by David Jones was met by Caldwell who didn’t even need to jump to head the ball into the net and Wigan had come from behind to lead.
Wigan continued to dominate and once again missed a couple of good chances, Moses heading over when he should have scored and another bullet shot from Gomez going narrowly wide.
Rovers threatened very sparingly their only real chance a superb free kick from Dunn beat the wall and the keeper but hit the post and went out for a throw in.
Half time saw Wiganleave to a standing ovation for a spirited first half performance and a deserved lead.
Things got even better for the home side when a quick break by Diame was halted by a cynical body check by Dunn earning him a second yellow card and an early shower.
This should have been Wigan’s cue to control the game but once again they were too wasteful in possession and thewarning signs were there when Hoillet broke down the left with the defence
struggling to keep up but thankfully the chance was wasted.
Rover’s equaliser when it came had a sizeable degree of controversy surrounding it. A corner
was awarded, Pedersen spotted the referee and the Wigan defence had their back to the play and took a quick corner to himself , ran along the goal line and before Wigan could re-group he had crossed along the line leaving Hoillet withan easy finish. With the Wigan fans screaming for the
goal to be disallowed the referee waved away the protests and the ten men were level.
Wigan quickly made two substitutes replacing the industrious but ineffective Sammon with Rodallega and the tiring Gomez with Crusat. This seemed to give Wigan more purpose and with Crusat and Jones forming an effective combination on the left and side cross after cross reigned
in on the Blackburn area, the most telling of which resulted in Robinson making a wonder save from a glancing header from Rodallega which had goal written all over it.
Wigan defended with a high line almost on the half way line and were almost made to pay for it when Yakubu beat the offside trap with Caldwell appealing in vein, as he closed in on Al Habsi’s goal a wonderful challenge by Gohuri saved the day when the Nigerian should have done much better.
Wigan continued to press but never really looked to be using the man advantage to its fullest effect until in the last few minutes when Crusat fired a low shot which swerved and bobbled and nestled in the net.
Wigan fans rejoiced thinking their was a first win in ten Premier League in the offing but with six minutes of time added on Wigan defending deep conceded two free kicks and then a corner all of which Rovers keeper had a part in, the first two as the taker of the free kicks and then from the corner when as he stooped to head the corner he caught a stray boot and despite Wigan’s protests that Robinson’s head was low Mr Marriner with yet another controversial decision awarded a penalty against Jones.
Yakubu stepped up and sent Al Habsi the wrong way with virtually the last kick of the game , giving the away side an unlikely point and increasing the pressure on Wigan and Roberto
Team and Ratings
Al Habsi…….7 couldn’t be faulted for any of the goals
Gohuri…..6.5 a superb block on Yakubu the standout incident from the Ivorian
Caldwell… 6, A good goal but too casual in defence
Stam………8 Attacked well and a good performance in defence
Figueroa ….6.5 A competent performance
McCarthy….6 steady and unspectacular
Moses ……..6.5 A good first half but faded after the break
Gomez …….7 Ditto Moses
Jones………8.5 His best performance in aWigan shirt and man of the match
Diame……..8 Another solid performance
Sammon ….6 Tried hard
Crusat……..7.5 looked really sharp
Rodallega…6.5 one good header
McArthur….N/A no chance to make an impression.
Att 17, 392
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