Saturday, 5 February 2011

Wigan 4 Blackburn 3

James McCarthy struck twice as Wigan clawed their way out of the relegation zone with a thrilling win over Blackburn at the DW Stadium.
Jason Roberts put the visitors ahead, only for Wigan to race into a 3-1 lead through McCarthy's double and an opportunistic goal by Hugo Rodallega.
Chris Samba made it 4-2, before Ben Watson's penalty made the game safe for the Latics.
Blackburn's David Dunn scored a late penalty but Wigan held on for the win.
Blackburn dominated the early stages of the game and could have been two goals to the good within the opening 15 minutes, with Al-Habsi forced into saves from Benjani then Pedersen, as Blackburn seemed capable of opening Wigan up at will.
Not to be outdone, Paul Robinson had to save low to his left in the 21st minute when Ben Watson's free kick evaded a crowd of bodies.
But it was Blackburn who took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute when the impressive David Hoilett picked out Emerton on the right, whose steaming run down the wing allowed him the space to cut his cross back to Jason Roberts, who got in front of his marker to tap in at the near post.
Blackburn could, and should, have doubled their lead barely a minute later but Benjani failed to make a decent connection with his header, with Pederson picking him out with a free-kick from the left.
Wigan survived a handball shout when the ball appeared to strike the arm of Steve Gohouri following Benjani's miss, with the Latics managing to escape a sustained period of Blackburn pressure without further damage.
Infact, Wigan reacted defiantly to going behind and it was no surprise that Charles N'Zogbia was central to the home side's equaliser, as the Frenchman created space for Emerson Boyce to shoot after a surging run from the right.
Boyce's powerful low drive from 15 yards was saved well by Robinson, but McCarthy was first to react to the rebound, adjusting his body well to steer home from close range.
Blackburn started the second half brightly, but were punished for some shoddy defending when Samba and the on-rushing Robinson were unable to combine to clear a long ball to safety.
Rodallega nipped in to take advantage of their hesitation, sweeping the ball into the empty net with his left foot, giving Wigan a 2-1 lead and, with 20 goals, becoming Wigan's record goalscorer in the process.
With Blackburn on the ropes, James McCarthy doubled his tally for the afternoon with a sublime piece of skill and finish. N'Zogbia rolled the ball into McCarthy who flicked the ball over Jermaine Jones with his right foot before volleying in with his left from 8 yards.
But just as Wigan were looking comfortable, they gave Blackburn hope of a comeback, allowing Samba to meet Pederson's corner and power in a header at the near post, making it 3-2.
With the game becoming increasingly stretched, Steve Kean, who had gambled by leaving top scorer Mame Diouf on the bench, introduced the on-loan striker on the hour.
But as Blackburn eyed an equaliser with Diouf now leading the line, Rovers fell further behind.
Watson restored Wigan's two-goal advantage from the penalty spot after Diame was clumsily tripped by Salgado in the box.
Blackburn remained committed to their attacking game but, in the 75th minute, Diouf missed a golden opportunity to make it 4-3 when he dragged his shot wide from 15 yards.
With the rain failing to relent and the pitch continuing to deteriorate, Blackburn narrowed Wigan's lead in the 81st minute.
David Dunn, another second half substitute, made it 4-3 with the second penalty of the afternoon, sending Al-Habsi the wrong way after an ill-advised challenge by Boyce has sent Dunn tumbling just inside the box.
Blackburn pumped balls towards Diouf as they became increasingly desperate to salvage a point, but Wigan held on for a win that may prove crucial in their quest for Premier League survival.

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