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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 21 May, 2019
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Liveblog

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Blackburn 0-1 Wigan (FT)

Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog. The ramifications of the game are quite simple tonight – Blackburn need to win or they are relegated.

Here are the teams:

Blackburn: Robinson, Orr, Dann, Givet, Martin Olsson, Hoilett, Dunn, Lowe, Pedersen, Modeste, Yakubu. Subs: Kean, Formica, Petrovic, Nzonzi, Rochina, Marcus Olsson, Goodwillie.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour, Moses, Di Santo, Maloney. Subs: Pollitt, Crusat, Ben Watson, Gomez, Sammon, Rodallega, Diame.

You can find a comprehensive preview of this game here.

Here’s a quick poll before we begin.

Will Blackburn survive in the Premier League?


Poll Results:

No (215)
If hell freezes over (113)
Yes (20)



And we’re underway…

In light of this news, it’s interesting that James McCarthy is starting for Wigan tonight.

Play has temporarily been stopped because there is a chicken on the field. Yes, you read that correctly.

Di Santo sprints past two despairing lunges, but his finish when through on goal is tame enough, and Robinson is able to parry it away for a corner.

Brilliantly hit shot from well outside the box by Modeste that goes narrowly over the bar. That was Cisse-esque in its audacity.

Blackburn may not have started especially well, but they’ve at least registered a shot on target, unlike in their game against Spurs.

Unsurprisingly, Henry Winter wasn’t the only one to make a terrible chicken-related pun on Twitter.

Wigan look the slightly better team at the moment. They’re clearly the more composed team in possession, though Blackburn look a threat from set pieces.

Meanwhile, chants of “Kean Out” can regularly be heard, as has pretty much been the case all season at Ewood.

Slight let-off for Blackburn. A dangerous ball is played into the box, and Gary Caldwell unwittingly toes it away from Victor Moses, who was just about to pull the trigger.

Unless my imagine deceives me, Sky’s co-commentator Davie Proven just said “Blackburn are starting to look a bit strung out”.

Great long ball from Di Santo finds the head of Moses, but his weak header is easily dealt with by Robinson.

Not for the first time tonight, Pederson has woefully overhit a free kick from a promising position.

Blackburn very much look like a team that are short of inspiration.

As half-time approaches, veteran midfielder David Dunn has been forced to go off injured. Marcus Olsson comes on in his stead.

Shaun Maloney hits a dangerous ball across the goal, but there is no one in the right position for Wigan, perhaps outlining one of their problems this season – the lack of a poacher.

HALF-TIME: BLACKBURN 0-0 WIGAN

So it’s half-time, and the only positive I can think of as far as Blackburn are concerned is that their performance is a marginal improvement from their game with Tottenham.

Wigan have been far more neat and tidy in possession compared with their opponents, and have threatened on occasion, but currently seem to lack a cutting edge up front.

Very worrying news – the second half has been delayed as there’s a problem with Gael Givet in the dressing room apparently.

Petrovic has replaced Givet and the action is underway. It’s been confirmed that the defender is okay, thankfully.

Beausejour’s shot is deflected over for a corner, as Wigan continue to look like the superior side.

Yakubu’s scissors kick from close range is cleared off the line by Beausejour following a Blackburn corner. If the hosts do score tonight, a set piece seems their most likely outlet.

Givet has appeared back on the substitutes bench, thankfully.

Blackburn have been denied what seems a clear penalty based on replays. Boyce attempts to kick the ball, but the Blackburn player gets there ahead of him, and thus the Wigan defender gets the man rather than the ball.

The referee should expect to receive plenty of criticism if Blackburn do end up going down tonight.

With James McCarthy screaming for it on the right, Di Santo opts to shoot, and the ball deflects safely into the hands of Robinson.

It’s fair to say McCarthy is not happy with his colleague after such selfishness.

Moses has just been booked for diving in the box – the replays show that the referee is 100% right.

Meanwhile, the increasingly gloomy weather seems an appropriate backdrop to this game as far as Blackburn fans are concerned – an example of pathetic fallacy if ever I saw one.

Blackburn are really starting to press Wigan now in a desperate search for a goal to rescue their season (temporarily at least). The visitors, on the other hand, seem content to sit back and play for a draw.

Moses finds himself through on goal on the counter-attack for Wigan, and Robinson does well to save the shot, in addition to smothering the ball, as McCarthy attempts to get to the rebound.

Shortly thereafter, Maloney heads over from close range when he should score.

Suffice it to say, Blackburn are living dangerously.

GOAL FOR WIGAN!

Poor marking from Blackburn, as an unmarked Alcaraz’s header can only be palmed into the net by Robinson.

Barring a miracle, Blackburn are as good as down, and Steve Kean knows it, judging by the despairing look on his face.

Wigan, on the other hand, look like they’re about to ensure their survival against all the odds (given their incredibly difficult end-of-season run-in).

FULL-TIME: BLACKBURN 0-1 WIGAN

BLACKBURN ARE RELEGATED

Unfortunately, some of the Blackburn players are forced to dash towards the dressing room as a number of angry fans run onto the pitch to confront the players and staff.

Just to confirm too that Wigan will definitely be playing Premier League football next year after that result.

Club captain Gary Caldwell says Wigan have “proven we’re good enough to play at this level”.

He also praises Martinez for staying “calm and true to his principles”.

Wigan manager, speaking on their safety, says “it doesn’t feel real yet”.

He says his side were “mentally strong enough to cope with the occasion”.

So, probably a fair result on the basis of both the game and the season on reflection. Wigan looked slightly sharper throughout that match, playing the better football and creating the better chances, notwithstanding the penalty Blackburn should have been awarded (see 21.24).

The game also highlighted two contrasting styles of ownership at the respective clubs – Dave Whelan has relentlessly backed Roberto Martinez irrespective of many disappointing results in recent years, while Blackburn’s owners seemed to sack Sam Allardyce in very harsh circumstances, installing the untested Steve Kean thereafter, much to the ostensible dismay of the majority of the club’s fans.

Bradley Orr describes relegation as “probably the worst feeling in my football career” and admits they “fell short as a group of players”.

He adds that he has “nothing but admiration and respect for Steve Kean”. He says “he took things 0n the chin that he shouldn’t have had to”.

He also says Kean is “the best I’ve worked with as far as managers are concerned”.

In relation to the ownership, he claims he “doesn’t know what the situation is”.

An emotional Steve Kean says the difficulty in keeping clean sheets is one of the main reasons they went down and says they have to “regroup” and keep the majority of their players together.

Alright, that’s it from me. Thanks for reading and commenting.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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