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Report: Rovers 3 Wigan Athletic 0

1 August 2015

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Rovers warmed up for next week's season opener with a comfortable 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic.

With the Ewood encounter against Wolves just seven days away, Rovers struck three times in the second half to overcome the Latics.

There was little between the two sides in a first half that was short of clear-cut opportunities, but as the game opened up in the second it was Rovers who took full command.

After Craig Conway had struck the bar and Jordan Rhodes was twice-denied, it was left to 17-year-old Willem Tomlinson to broke the deadlock on 74 minutes.

It has been a summer to remember for the Academy graduate with several outings for the seniors, but he's certainly remember his first Ewood appearance, opening the scoring with a superbly struck 30-yard goal.

Grant Hanley nodded home Rovers' second seven minutes from time, before the free-roaming Ben Marshall added a peach of a third to complete a satisfactory afternoon.

For the final pre-season friendly of the summer Rovers named three trialists in their 21-man squad for the match against Wigan Athletic.

Danny Guthrie and Nicky Maynard were both selected in the starting XI, whilst Nathan Delfouneso was on the bench.

Summer signings Fode Koita and Sacha Petshi were also named amongst the substitutes.

It was Maynard who had the first opportunity of the match after nine minutes. A ball in from the left by Markus Olsson was aimed for the former Cardiff attacker, but it just wouldn't drop and the Latics bundled the ball clear.

At the other end Shane Duffy blocked well as Michael Jacobs fired goalwards, whilst Everton loanee Francisco Junior was wide with a speculative diving header.

Rovers were forced into a change just past the half hour when Maynard went down on the far side. Unfortunately for the trialist he was unable to continue, which meant Nathan Delfouneso, goalscorer in the pre-season win over Oldham Athletic, was brought on as his replacement.

In typical east Lancashire drizzle, goalmouth opportunities were few and far between for both sides in subdued first half. The best of the chances fell to Delfouneso five minutes before the break, but from Craig Conway's centre he dragged his shot wide of goal.

However, but for a deflection Rovers would have taken the lead just two minutes into the second half.

Following pressure from a corner kick, Conway cut in from the left to let fly with a fizzing effort, the ball seemed destined for the top corner until it skimmed off Donervon Daniels, the deflection just enough to ensure it was the crossbar that was struck and not the back of the net.

Then Junior tried his luck from distance for the visitors, but David Raya was able to watch the ball fly over his bar.

On his return from the ankle injury sustained in the first pre-season outing at Accrington, Jordan Rhodes was then twice denied by half-time sub keeper Lee Nicholls.

Latching onto Raya's clearance, the striker exchanged passes with Delfouneso, but his two near-post efforts were kept out by the Wigan man. As was Ben Marshall's on the follow-up.

Fode Koita was given his Ewood bow on 62 minutes, replacing Rhodes who had got a good hour under his belt. Whilst youngster Willem Tomlinson, who has made such an impression with the first team this pre-season, replaced Danny Guthrie.

Koita showed a couple of neat touches early on to draw applause from the home support, one teed up Jason Lowe for a shot, but his effort across goal wasn't troubling Nicholls. From the other side Olsson cut in to strike but his shot wasn't on target.

On 74 minutes came a moment to remember for 17-year-old Tomlinson. As Rovers worked the ball well around midfield, space opened up for the youngster and he took full advantage, hitting a sweet shot from fully 30-yards that nestled into the corner of the goal.

As the game entered the final ten minutes both sides made further substitutions. Sacha Petshi was given his first outing at Ewood Park replacing Jason Lowe, whilst full backs Adam Henley and Markus Olsson were replaced by Ryan Nyambe and Tommy Spurr.

Rovers doubled their advantage soon afterwards from a corner kick. Conway delivering from the left, captain Grant Hanley nodding home as the two Scots combined.

David Raya was rarely tested, but he was called into action in the closing stages. Acrobatically keeping out a free-kick from Max Power, before claiming a Kevin McNaughton header from the resulting corner.

Ben Marshall completed a comfortable afternoon for Rovers with a sumptuous strike two minutes from time.

The midfielder, who had played in a free role all afternoon, found room to roam once more before cutting in from the left to curl a wonderful effort beyond the despairing reach of Nicholls.

It all sets things up nicely for the big event next Saturday at Ewood Park when Wolves are the visitors in the opening league match of season.

ROVERS: Raya, Henley (sub Nyambe 82 mins), Hanley (c), Duffy, Olsson (sub Spurr 81 mins), Marshall, Guthrie (sub Tomlinson 62 mins), Lowe (sub Petshi 82 mins), Conway, Rhodes (sub Koita 62 mins), Maynard (sub Delfouneso 32 mins).

Subs not used: Steele (GK), Kilgallon, O'Sullivan, Forrester.

Goals: Tomlinson 74 mins, Hanley 83 mins, Marshall  88 mins.

Booked: None.

WIGAN: O'Donnell (sub Nicholls 46 mins), James (sub McNaughton 84 mins), Perkins, Daniels (sub Barnett 66 mins), Power, McCann (sub Taylor 46 mins), Grigg (sub Odelusi 82 mins), Jacobs (sub Davies 62 mins), Morgan (c), Junior (sub Jennings 82 mins), Kenny (sub Flores 84 mins).

Subs not used: McKay.

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 3504 (including 557 visiting supporters).

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