A Wigan side backing up from their first ever European game snatched a injury time victory against a ten man Blackburn Rovers side who can have no complaints for the dismissal of captain Grant Hanley for what appeared to be a punch in the face of Nick Powell.
Wigan manager opted to retain the majority of his side from Thursday’s Europa league match, the only changes being a recall for fit again Thomas Rogne for Emerson Boyce and James McClean coming in for Callum McManaman. On the bench there was a welcome return for Grant Holt.
Rovers started the game the brighter with King controlling midfield and looking to put the ball through to the potent strike force of Best and alleged Wigan target Rhodes. Wigan looked lethargic with too many passes going astray and the players struggled to get into the game.
In the week Coyle was pushing for an England recall for Scott Carson and as so often when a player is praised in the media , he committed a major error for the opening goal. Carson opted to come off his line to punch a ball clear. He only partially connected with the ball which fell to Spurr who fired the ball through a packed penalty area into an unguarded net and Rovers were ahead.
Roves continued to dominate the next twenty minutes with only McArthur who had a shot just off target and Powell who was giving the central Rover’s defence a torrid time; looking dangerous going forwards and Wigan’s wing attack looking particularly off the boil.
The key moment of the game came on the half hour mark when Rovers captain Hanley laid Powell out and Mr Attwell brandished a straight red card.
Wigan sparked into life and pushed forwards in search of the equaliser with Rovers marshalling a valiant rearguard action with Rhodes cutting a forlorn figure in attack. Wigan failed to make their pressure tell and were forced into a long range effort from Gomez and set pieces with Kean spilling the ball onto the post under pressure from the Wigan team, however whilst he gathered the ball at the second attempt, Mr Attwell ruled that he had been impeded in the build up.
The second half started in much the same vein with Rovers resorting to the odd foray into the Wigan half although from one such attack there were strong claims for a penalty for handball.
Owen Coyle opted to make a change recalling fit again Grant holt to the fray for Rogne with Beausejour dropping into a back four and McClean switching from the right wing to his natural left wing position and Powell dropping into midfield. Holt provided a focal point with his power and ability in the air proving dangerous especially at set pieces and from one of those a goal mouth scramble saw the ball cross the line with Holt claiming the goal although reports suggest Spurr may be awarded an own goal.
Powell continued to look dangerous and from one move a cheeky back heel almost found the net, the ball hitting the keeper’s legs. Rovers scrambled time and again to deny Wigan and some challenges most notably on Gomez and Watson tested the patience of Mr Attwell.
Wigan continued to pressurise the beleaguered Rover’s defence and Coyle opted to introduce Boyce for Shotton in an attempt to increase the attacking prowess on the right hand side. This was to prove effective as Boyce McClean and Powell constantly pushed Wigan forward.
One of the plusses to Coyle’s new regime at Wigan is a never say die attitude and his side although below par kept on pushing forwards and in injury time a Watson free kick found Boyce and his effort sealed an exciting last gasp win for Wigan
Carson….6, not his best game.
Shotton….6, a steady performance.withdrawn
Rogne….7, lead the back four by example, withdrawn
Barnett….7, defended well pushed forwards when allowed.
Perch…..7, a makeshift left bsck but performed well.
McClean…..5.5. poor on right wing , better on left.
Gomez…..5, too slow.
McArthur….7, worked hard. withdrawn
Watson…..7, kept pushing Wigan forwards, a key role.
Beausejour….6, not his most effective game.
Powell…..8, man of match, always probing and gave Rovers defence a testing afternoon.
Holt….7, an effective target man
Boyce…..7, provide width and attacking support
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