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Match Report


Posted Sat 26 Dec 09 at 16:59 PM

Report: Wigan 1 Rovers 1

Rovers once again had to settle for a share of the spoils after a 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium.

Benni McCarthy fired Rovers in front on the half hour, latching onto Ryan Nelsen's downward header to grab his fourth of the season.

Seven minutes after the restart the scores were level, Hugo Rodallega rising high to head home Charles N'Zogbia's centre.

Both sides had chances to win it, Robinson denied Scotland, whilst Kirkland kept out McCarthy's overhead kick, Keith Andrews fired narrowly wide, then Chris Samba saw a header cleared.

The result sees Rovers end their run of defeats, but it is the lack of wins in their last seven attempts that will cause concern.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

Sam Allardyce made just the two changes from the side that lost at home to Tottenham last time out.

Chris Samba, who missed the Spurs match with a stomach bug, returned to partner Ryan Nelsen at the heart of the Rovers defence, with Lars Jacobsen dropping to the bench.

The other change saw Keith Andrews replace the injured Vince Grella in the centre of midfield.

For Wigan, they made just the one change from the side that lost 2-1 at Liverpool, Jason Scotland replacing the injured Diame.

On a clear yet chilly afternoon it was Rovers who started the better side, and just five minutes in they were very nearly in front. A threaded ball from Junior Hoilett found Benni McCarthy cutting in right of the area, his ball across the six yard box was destined for the boot of Franco Di Santo until Titus Bramble got a touch to send the ball the wrong side of the post.

That was close to being an own goal in Rovers favour but ten minutes later it was very nearly the reverse. A Bramble ball pumped forward was headed down back towards his own goal by Chris Samba, but away from Paul Robinson, but the defender's blushes were saved as the Rovers number one scrambled back to dive to clear off the line.

A tough no nonsense midfield battle ensued for the majority of the first half, but the one piece of quality saw Rovers take the lead on the half hour after Michel Salgado had been pulled back.

Keith Andrews floated a ball into the penalty area where Ryan Nelsen rose to head down into the path of Benni McCarthy and he made no mistake from close range, firing past Chris Kirkland for his fourth goal of the season, his first in the league.

Though a minute later Paul Scharner wasted a great chance to get straight back on level terms. Charles N'Zogbia cut in from the right to centre where the Austrian rose unchallenged, but thankfully he headed well wide of goal.

At the end of the half, Junior Hoilett could have added a second for Rovers, but after fine approach play from McCarthy and Salgado, the Canadian's shot struck the unfortunate Andrews and the ball diverted wide.

Rovers had conceded on the stroke of half-time seven days earlier against Tottenham, and it was very nearly the case once again. After failing to clear with a freek-kick into the area, Jason Scotland forced a fine save from Robinson before Pascal Chimbonda, booed on his return to his former club, cleared ahead of Rodallega.

Nzonzi fired narrowly wide after good play by McCarthy moments after the restart but a spell of pressure from the home side eventually took its toll.

Emerson Boyce had wasted a headed opportunity on 52 minutes, but sixty seconds later Wigan were level.

A short corner was worked back to Charles N'Zogbia by Jordi Gomez and Hugo Rodallega rose above Gael Givet at the back post to head past Robinson.

It could have been worse for Rovers when moments later Jason Scotland burst through but Paul Robinson was equal to his efforts.

Then Charles N'Zogbia went close for the home side, driving narrowly wide with a shot across goal.

Pascal Chimbonda was replaced by Lars Jacobsen to a chorus of boos from the home fans. But they were a little more generous with their applause when former striker Jason Roberts came on to replace Franco Di Santo with 18 minutes to go.

Morten Gamst Pedersen was Sam Allardyce's third change of the game, and it was his cross from the right that almost saw Rovers grab a winner seven minutes from time. The Norwegian's centre from the right was first nodded on by Samba, then by Nzonzi for Benni McCarthy who, with his back to goal, hit an overhead kick goalwards only to see Chris Kirkland pull off a vital close-range save.

Then it was Keith Andrews' turn to go close, blasting the ball a yard wide of the upright after Robinson's ball into the area fell to him.

At the death Chris Samba saw a header cleared out of the six yard box by Titus Bramble, whilst Givet deflected a Rodallega shot wide.

The result sees Rovers avoid an unwanted hat-trick of defeats, but it is now seven league games without victory.

WIGAN: Kirkland, Thomas, Scharner, Scotland, N'Zogbia, Gomez, Boyce, Bramble, Rodallega, Melchiot (c), Figueroa.

Subs not used: Kingson (GK), Amaya, Cho, Sinclair, De Ridder, McCarthy, Bouaouzan.

ROVERS: Robinson, Chimbonda (sub Jacobsen 67 mins), Samba, Nelsen (c), Givet, Salgado (sub Pedersen 77 mins), Andrews, Nzonzi, Hoilett, McCarthy, Di Santo (sub Roberts 72 mins).

Subs not used: Brown (GK), Diouf, Kalinić, Jones.

Booked: Thomas (Wigan), Salgado, Givet, Chimbonda, Nzonzi (Rovers).

Attendance: 20,243

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