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Match Report


Posted Mon 07 May 12 at 10:13 AM

Report: Rovers 0 Wigan Athletic 1

Rovers will play in the second tier of English football next season after a 1-0 loss at home to Wigan Athletic condemned them to relegation.

Antolin Alcaraz's 87th minute goal was enough to ensure that Rovers will be playing Championship football in 2012-13 after a hard fought loss against Wigan Athletic at Ewood Park

In a game of few chances, Rovers will point to a clear cut penalty decision that went against them in the second half when Emerson Boyce brought down Junior Hoilett in the area, but as Mark Clattenburg waved away those claims with it went Rovers' top flight tenue as Wigan grabbed a late winner three minutes from time.

Ahead of the game Steve Kean made two changes from the side that lost at Tottenham last time out. In came Anthony Modeste in place of Mauro Formica, whilst Martin Olsson returned at the expense of his brother who dropped to the bench.

Rovers went into the game knowing that only one result would see them live for another day but it was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides.

On nine minutes former Rover Franco Di Santo found himself with a chance of a goal but his shot was comfortably saved by Rovers captain Paul Robinson.

His opposite number Ali Al Habsi wasn't troubled by an Anthony Modeste effort two minutes later as the Frenchman's shot flashed wide, but Robinson would be called upon once more to save with his legs at the near post after Victor Moses skipped past Scott Dann.

In a first half short on chances, Wigan forward Victor Moses spurned the best of them when from a Di Santo cross from the right he could only head across the box with the goal gaping.

Rovers were forced into two substitutions either side of the break, David Dunn limping off to be replaced by Marcus Olsson, whilst Gael Givet didn't reappear, he was replaced by Radosav Petrovic.

Rovers started the second half with more purpose as they forced a couple of early corner kicks, but they couldn't make them count. One was close to breaking the deadlock as Morten Gamst Pedersen's deep kick from the left was headed back into the area by Scott Dann but Yakubu's acrobatic effort was cleared away on the line.

Then after Martin Olsson's cross had been pushed away by Ali Al Habsi, neither Pedersen or Anthony Modeste could get decent purchase on their shots.

The visitors wasted a chance of their own when Victor Moses fired over the bar from a Di Santo lay-off, but on 59 minutes Rovers should have been awarded a penalty when Emmerson Boyce kicked Junior Hoilett in the area as he closed in on goal but inexplicably referee Mark Clattenburg waved play-on.

That decision would prove to be costly, as whilst Rovers fashioned chances, none would be as clear cut as the decision not to award a penalty.

Hoilett fed Anthony Modeste into a promising position but he shot straight at Al Habsi, whilst a dipping effort from the young Canadian was touched around the post from the Wigan 'keeper. Then Martin Olsson's cross caused problems but Al Habsi claimed at the second attempt.

Rovers went for broke when Bradley Orr was replaced by David Goodwillie as defence was sacrificed for attack, but as the weather turned more miserable it would prove to be that way on the pitch.

First Paul Robinson saved well at his near post to deny both Victor Moses and James McCarthy, before Shaun Maloney missed an open goal with a header from Emerson Boyce.

The warning signs were there and three minutes from time the only goal of the game arrived and unfortunately it would be the visitors who would claimed it. James McCarthy sent the ball over from the right and Alcaraz rose to head into the back of the net despite the best of efforts from Rovers captain Paul Robinson.

With the wind knocked out of their sails Rovers couldn't rally and as the rain continued to pour down the final whistle signalled an end to the club's top-flight involvement.

ROVERS: Robinson (c), Orr (sub Goodwillie 80 mins), Dann, Givet (sub Petrovic 46 mins), Martin Olsson, Lowe, Dunn (sub Marcus Olsson 44 mins), Pedersen, Hoilett, Yakubu, Modeste.

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Formica, Nzonzi, Rochina.

WIGAN ATHLETIC: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, McCarthy, Caldwell (c), Di Santo (sub Sammon 85 mins), Maloney, Moses, McArthur, Boyce, Beausejour, Figueroa.

Subs not used: Pollitt (GK), Crusat, Watson, Gomez, Rodallega, Diame.

Booked: Petrovic, Pedersen (Rovers), Moses (Wigan).

Attendance: 26,144

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