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Match Report

 

Posted Wed 27 Jan 10 at 22:45 PM

Report: Rovers 2 Wigan 1

Rovers hit the dizzy heights of 11th in the Barclays Premier League after goals from Morten Gamst Pedersen and Niko Kalinić saw them defeat Wigan Athletic 2-1 at Ewood Park.

After a bright Rovers opening in which Kalinić struck the foot of a post, they eventually got their reward when Morten Gamst Pedersen blasted home from outside the area on 20 minutes for his 5th goal of the season.

At the other end Paul Scharner wasted the visitor's best chance in the opening half when he failed to connect with a Hugo Rodallega's free-kick.

But Wigan claimed a leveller in fortunate circumstances shortly after the restart when Gary Caldwell headed home a James McCarthy corner kick. But the former Celtic man appeared to climb all over Pascal Chimbonda in getting to the ball.

Nevertheless Rovers didn't let their heads drop, even when Morten Gamst Pedersen was inches away from heading his second goal of the game only to see his header strike the crossbar.

Rovers weren't to be denied and when Pedersen sent over a corner kick from the right on 76 minutes it was Niko Kalinić who stooped the head Rovers back in front with his first Premier League goal, his 6th in all competitions this season.

The victory sees Rovers up to 11th in the league, all eyes are now on those teams above rather than those below.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

After their rousing display against Aston Villa last time out, manager Sam Allardyce made just the two changes to the side that took to the field at Villa Park seven days ago.

With Chris Samba serving a one-match ban it meant a reshuffle at the back, Martin Olsson dropping back to left back to great effect with Gael Givet partnering captain Ryan Nelsen at the heart of the Rovers defence.

With David Dunn not being risked due to a slight calf strain, that saw Rovers make their two changes further forward with returns to the starting eleven for El-Hadji Diouf and Junior Hoilett who occupied the right and left sides beside Nikola Kalinić.

The home side started brightly and almost took the lead inside the opening five minutes. After pressure in the area, it was Hoilett whose scooped effort went across goal, Steven Nzonzi hooked one of those long legs of his around the ball to find Niko Kalinić who turned well to shoot, but as has often been the case in the league for the young Croatian he was thwarted by the post as the ball struck the woodwork.

Rovers continued to look the better of the two sides, Kalinić was just flagged offside after he latched onto a fine ball from Diouf.

But they kept up the pressure and were eventually rewarded on 20 minutes when from a Brett Emerton free-kick Wigan 'keeper Vladimir Stojkovic punched weakly and Morten Gamst Pedersen arrived at pace to slam an unstoppable effort off the outside of his left boot that flew into the top corner.

Rovers went looking for further goals, Junior Hoilett struck the side netting after turning well in the box, whilst after good linkup play with Diouf, Kalinić saw his goal bound shot well stopped.

The visitors really only had one chance of note in the opening 45 minutes. A free-kick from Hugo Rodallega from the left touchline went flying past a host of bodies in the six yard box, most notably Paul Scharner at the back post. The Austrian really should have done better.

The second half started slowly, with neither side creating an opening until the 57 minute when from a James McCarthy corner kick Gary Caldwell headed Wigan level. The former Celtic defender appeared to climb all over Pascal Chimbonda to reach the ball but referee Lee Mason, who didn't endear himself to the Rovers fans throughout, allowed the goal to stand.

That goal knocked Rovers out of their stride allowing the visitors to grow in confidence and they struggled to get going, although again that wasn't helped by the constant whistle from referee.

However just past the hour mark Rovers came within inches of regaining the lead when from a Brett Emerton centre Morten Gamst Pedersen did brilliantly to head back across goal, his header beat Wigan 'keeper Stojkovic but not the woodwork as the ball crashed off the crossbar.

The home side weren't to be denied however and when the winning goal came it was as much of a delight to the goalscorer as to the crowd who had chanted his name throughout.

Morten Gamst Pedersen had seen one corner kick punched behind, but from the second kick from the right, Niko Kalinić stooped to head Rovers back in front and the place erupted with relief.

The Croatian under 21 star had seen so many chances blocked on the line or bounce off the frame of the goal during his previous league games, his first Premier League goal from only his third league start was greeted with great delight.

It proved to be his last involvement as Sam Allardyce brought on Franco Di Santo and Jason Roberts, and the forward duo ensured that there wouldn't be a nervy ending to the match.

Jason Roberts saw a shot between two defenders saved by Stojkovic, before important blocks denied Brett Emerton and Martin Olsson as Rovers went for a third goal.

That didn't come, and despite playing six additional minutes, Rovers were able to celebrate another valuable home victory.

After the applause for the Rovers players, there were boos as the officials made their way off the pitch. Thankfully, for once, their decisions didn't affect the outcome of the match.

ROVERS: Robinson, Chimbonda, Nelsen (c), Givet, Olsson, Diouf (sub Di Santo 77 mins), Nzonzi, Emerton, Pedersen, Hoilett (sub Reid 54 mins), Kalinić (sub Roberts 77 mins).

Subs not used: Brown (GK), Andrews, Salgado, Jones.

WIGAN ATHLETIC: Stojkovic, Caldwell, Thomas (sub Scotland 86 mins), Scharner, N'Zogbia, Bramble, Rodallega, McCarthy (sub Sinclair 86 mins), Melchiot (c) (sub Boyce 67 mins), Diame, Figueroa

Subs not used: Pollitt (GK), Gohouri, Amaya, Gomez.

Booked: Reid, Nzonzi, Robinson (Rovers), Diame (Wigan).

Attendance: 22,190

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