McCarthy off the mark but Latics hold Rovers

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 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.

Afterwards Sam Allardyce believed his side should have won the game.

“I’m not really satisfied with a point. Our lads are disappointed because we know we should have had three,” said Allardyce.

“We just have to keep believing that eventually, when we make so many chances, we will put some in the back of the net to win the game.

“We got a goal in front, missed too many chances to get the second and kill the opposition off and allowed them 10 minutes to get back in the game and let them score.

“Had we not done that, the chances we created towards the end – particularly Benni’s overhead kick, God knows how that stayed out – would have been enough.”

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez also felt his side deserved more from the game after a much-improved second-half performance.

“We showed the right reaction (after half-time) and probably created enough chances to score that second goal,” said the Spaniard.

“The first-half performance was not good enough, it was not up to our standards as lapses in concentration again cost us a goal.

“I checked it again but it looks like Benni could have been in an offside position but that is what is happening to us at the moment.

“Certain decisions are not going our way and we are making it very hard for ourselves. But I was pleased with our reaction. I saw great character and great personality in the second half.

“If we keep on performing with those standards we will get the points the performances deserve.”

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 almost 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 bodycheck 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.

Seconds before half-time, Jason Scotland, who has yet to score since his €2.5 million 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 backheel 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 2-1 three minutes later but his shot was too close to Robinson and the Rovers goalkeeper saved.

Rodallega represented Wigan’s best chance of victory but he headed Maynor Figueroa’s cross straight at Robinson.

Not to be outdone by his fellow Englishman, Kirkland brilliantly stopped McCarthy’s 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 but to no avail.

Wigan face a daunting trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday while today Blackburn’s Australian midfielder Brett Emerton could return from injury to feature against Sunderland at Ewood Park.


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