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Match Reports

Report: Wigan 0 Rovers 0

Bennett sent off, but Mowbray's men pick up a hard-earned point on the road

28 October 2017

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Ten-man Rovers dug deep to earn a useful and hard-fought point on the road after drawing 0-0 with Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

After an uneventful first half, in which David Raya saved well from Gavin Massey, Rovers made a bright start to the second half, with Bradley Dack threatening the Wigan goal three times in quick succession.

However, the visitors' superiority was cruelly halted just before the hour mark when Elliott Bennett was shown a second yellow card for simulation, as he looked to evade a late challenge.

Rovers rallied thereafter, with substitute Harry Chapman twice going close to finding a winner, whilst Massey was denied by the frame of the goal for the high-flying hosts.

Tony Mowbray's side were forced to play the final few minutes with nine men, as Chapman limped off holding his hamstring, but Rovers' defence stood firm to claim a seventh clean sheet of the season.

Ahead of the game, Mowbray made two changes to the side that defeated Portsmouth 3-0 at Ewood Park last weekend. 

Craig Conway, who netted the third goal against Pompey, and Marcus Antonsson came back into the starting line-up, with Chapman and Danny Graham dropping to the bench.

The two teams looked to size each other up in the early exchanges, with neither side able to fashion a chance in the opening 20 minutes.

The first threat of the game arrived at the midway point in the half when Nick Powell played the ball through to Ivan Toney, but Derrick Williams got back to make a brilliant last-ditch challenge amidst strong appeals for a penalty. 

Moments later, Callum Elder delivered a dangerous cross from the left and Michael Jacobs' diving header was just off target.

The hosts had a better chance to open the scoring on 38 minutes when a long throw bounced through to Massey, who found himself one-on-one with Raya, but the Spaniard got down well to make a smart save.

On 40 minutes, Powell tried his luck from long range, but the ball whistled just past Raya's right-hand post.

Bennett picked up his fifth yellow card of the season just before the break, as the two sides headed into the dressing rooms goalless and with plenty to play for. 

Less than two minutes after the restart and Rovers registered their first effort of the game. Dack picked up possession, before beating his man, but his attempted lob sailed just over the bar. 

The former Gillingham forward had another sight of goal on 53 minutes, as Conway skipped past his marker down the left flank, before floating over a pin-point cross, but Dack couldn't direct his header on target.

The same duo combined again a minute later as Conway crossed from the left and Dack's first-time shot just cleared the crossbar. 

With Rovers well on top, they were dealt a cruel blow on 57 minutes as Bennett was shown a second yellow card for simulation, when there looked to be clear contact on the midfielder as he advanced forward. 

Mowbray made two changes in quick succession, bringing on Chapman and Graham for Antonsson and Dack, whilst in between, Powell played in the unmarked Elder to his left, but Raya made a superb save with his legs. 

Rovers were defending resolutely at one end, whilst they almost opened the scoring on 73 minutes at the other. 

Chapman burst past his marker in the box and his shot from an acute angle looped up off the Wigan keeper and landed on the roof of the net. From the resulting corner, the ball was cleared only as far as Chapman, whose first-time shot went just wide.

A minute later, Massey's strike from a similar distance bounced back off the foot of the post.

Rovers had an excellent opportunity on the counter-attack late on, as Graham found himself in the clear, but he opted to try and pick out Paul Caddis when perhaps a shot was the better option.

As the clock ticked into added time, Chapman hobbled off with a hamstring problem, whilst Wigan's Sam Morsy fired inches over from 25 yards out.

Rovers saw out the remaining minutes with nine men and secured a share of the spoils courtesy of a brave and battling performance and another impressive defensive display.

WIGAN: Jones, Byrne, Morsy, Burn, Dunkley, Elder, Power, Jacobs, Massey (Colclough 79), Powell, Toney (Roberts 80). 
Subs not used: Sarkic, Bruce, Perkins, Evans, Hunt. 

ROVERS: Raya, Nyambe, Downing, Mulgrew, Williams, Conway (Caddis 78), Smallwood, Whittingham, Bennett, Dack (Graham 63), Antonsson (Chapman 60). 
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Harper, Evans, Gladwin. 

Booked: Bennett, Smallwood, Whittingham, Chapman.
Sent off: Bennett.

Attendance: 11,211 (2,707 Rovers fans)

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