Rodallega saves point for Wigan

Wigan 1 Blackburn 1

Wigan and Blackburn cancelled each other out in a draw at the DW Stadium which did nothing to improve either side’s fortunes.

Benni McCarthy’s first Barclays Premier League goal of the season put the visitors ahead in the 30th minute only for Hugo Rodallega’s 53rd-minute header to level things up.

Wigan have now won just one of the last eight league matches, with Blackburn enjoying victory only once in seven.

It leaves both teams still too close to the relegation zone for their liking.

There was little to choose between the sides in the first half but Rovers should have taken a fifth-minute lead when Junior Hoilett slid a diagonal ball into the penalty area for McCarthy.

The South Africa striker opted to cross rather than shoot and although Titus Bramble deflected the ball inches wide of the far post referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a goal-kick.

Five minutes later Blackburn defender Chris Samba’s header from Bramble’s hopeful punt beat his own goalkeeper Paul Robinson but the England international managed to scramble back and claw the ball off the goalline.

Rovers were determined to make the game a physical one judging by their first-half approach, which saw three players booked before the interval.

However, it was Wigan forward Rodallega’s 30th-minute body-check on Michel Salgado which was the most significant foul of the first half.

Keith Andrews’ free-kick from just over the halfway line was headed across the six-yard area by Ryan Nelsen and McCarthy was on hand to score from close range.

Less than a minute later Paul Scharner had a chance to equalise but failed to hit the target from Charles N’Zogbia’s right-wing cross.

Gael Givet was one of the three first-half bookings but he was lucky to escape with just a caution for a challenge on Mario Melchiot which looked dangerously over the top.

Hoilett was unlucky when his curling shot was deflected wide by team-mate Andrews while seconds before half-time Jason Scotland, who has yet to score since his £2m summer move from Swansea, was brilliantly denied by Robinson from a narrow angle.

Two minutes after the interval Steven N’Zonzi had a great chance to double the lead from McCarthy’s back-heel but drilled wide from 12 yards.

That proved costly as in the 53rd minute N’Zogbia chipped in a left-wing cross and Rodallega perfectly planted his header past Robinson for the equaliser.

Scotland, having found space between the Blackburn centre-backs, should have made it 2-0 three minutes later but his shot was too close to Robinson and the Rovers goalkeeper saved.

In a frantic 90-second spell of counter-attacks, Wigan broke but Scharner delayed his shot too long, the Rovers defence cleared upfield only for N’Zonzi to mis-hit his pass as he tried to release Hoilett and N’Zogbia replied by slashing a shot across goal from a narrow angle.

Rodallega represented Wigan’s best chance of victory and he headed Maynor Figueroa’s cross straight at Robinson before testing the Rovers goalkeeper with an inswinging free-kick.

Not to be outdone by his fellow Englishman, Kirkland, who had been a spectator for much of the half, brilliantly stopped McCarthy’s point-blank overhead kick seven minutes from time.

Late on Andrews volleyed wide from 20 yards and Rodallega had a close-range shot deflected over as both sides pressed hard for a much-needed win.

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