A header midway through the second half from the irrepressible James McClean saw Wigan take a share of the spoils at the DW stadium ending a run of three successive home defeats for Malky MacKay’s merry men. Wigan’s starting eleven saw four changes from the side that capitulated at Birmingham last Saturday, with starting roles for Barnett in defence ,Kvist and Watson in midfield and Waghorn up front replacing Ramis, Kiernan Cowie and Maloney.. Wigan started with a lot more purpose than of late and were almost ahead within the first few minutes, when a Waghorn cross found Forshaw in the area, his powerful goal bound shot was stopped by a superb one handed save from Steele, the resulting loose ball fell to the young midfielder again but his second attempt sailed over the bar.
Blackburn grew into the game and took the lead when Wigan failed to clear a corner, the ball fell to Evans on the edge of the penalty area and his powerful curling shot gave Carson in the Wigan goal no chance and Rover were ahead. Wigan in previous matches would have buckled at this setback but spurred on by the tenacity of Kvist and the enthusiasm of McClean they continued to put the Rovers defence under pressure, the best effort being an attempt to lob the keeper by Watson which Steele did well to clear for a corner.
Rovers were not without chances in this physical encounter and from a Wigan corner they broke quickly and the ball was hit high to Rhodes who spotted that Carson was off
his line, thankfully for Wigan the ball bounced round the side of the post.
Rhodes also had another chance when a long range powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area being well saved by Carson
McClean was a constant thorn in the Rover’s defence but could consider himself lucky to stay on the pitch after a wild challenge on Olsson, saw a mini melee with burly centre half Grant Hanley, both players emerging with a yellow card when both could have departed the pitch with a red. Half time saw both teams exit the playing field reasonably satisfied with their efforts but with the knowledge that the game was certainly still there for the taking.
Blackburn started the second half the better and almost scored again when Kilgallon should have done better with his shot from a corner which went straight at Carson. Rhodes who had a quiet afternoon by his standards nearly scored when his powerful shot took a wicked deflection but to Wigan’s relief the ball spun wide of the far post for a corner Latics looked dangerous all afternoon from set pieces and so it proved when a free kick from substitute Shaun Maloney was met by the head of McClean whose powerful header beat Steele to give Wigan a deserved equaliser
Wigan continued to press for the lead but were almost undone at the back when poor defending by Barnett saw King break for goal but the big Wigan defender recovered well to head the ball clear off the line, after the cut back pass from King had found Rhodes who must have thought he had done enough to score.
There was more controversy to follow, with Rover’s forward Brown claiming that he had been elbowed in the face off the ball by Ridgewell but none of the officials spotted the incident so play continued to the bemusement of the big Rover’s striker
Both sides pushed for a winner with Rovers having the best chance, when a shot from Wigan born Lowe was cleared off the line by the diminutive Maloney following a corner. The full time whistle saw both sides leave the pitch no doubt satisfied with the point in what was an even game, high on effort but less so in skill. For Wigan a point wasn’t enough to close the gap on escaping the relegation spots but enough endeavour was shown to suggest that there is still hope of performing a great escape
Team Line up and Player Ratings
Carson…..6, Couldn’t be faulted for the Rovers ‘ goal
Perch (c)…7, Another solid game from the skipper
Barnett…….5, Good in the air, not so good on the floor.
Ridgewell….6, Played with passion and commitment
Taylor………5, Weak going forwards and often out of position defending.
Kvist……….8.5, A superb performance as a sweeper, MOM.
Watson…….5, Struggled with the physicality of the game, withdrawn
McCann……5, Battled hard, pushed forwards in the second half.
Forshaw……..5, Started well but faded badly, withdrawn.
McClean……8, gave his all and deserved his goal but could have been sent off.
Waghorn…….6, worked hard, withdrawn
Maloney …..6 ( for Forshaw), delivered some dangerous set pieces.
Huws ……….6, ( for Watson), a good box to box performance.
Delort……….6, ( for Waghorn), ran around a lot but little chance to shine
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