Super strikes seal Rovers win
By Ben Blackmore
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Blackburn fashioned two splendid goals on their way to a 3-0 win over Wigan.
Blackburn produced two super strikes on their way to a deserved 3-0 victory over Wigan at The JJB Stadium.
Stunning volleys in either half from Morten Gamst Pedersen and Steven Reid gave Rovers the advantage before Craig Bellamy sewed up the three points late on, as Mark Hughes' men put on a thoroughly professional performance to halt The Latics' four-game winning streak.
Blackburn arrived at The JJB Stadium some 10 points behind their opposition, but this is a developing Rovers side who are beginning to add a taste for goals to their well-established hard-to-beat complexion.
Most of the early threat came from the visiting side, who were displaying significant aerial power in what was an otherwise scrappy opening.
First, Wigan failed to deal with a long throw into the path of Shefki Kuqi, and then moments later a corner found Ryan Nelsen who forced Mike Pollitt into the first save of the afternoon.
Rovers boss Hughes had opted to leave the pace of Bellamy on the bench as Paul Dickov and Kuqi formed the front pairing, and the duo were causing plenty of early problems for the hosts as Blackburn shifted onto the front foot.
When the opening goal did come on the 15-minute mark it was the determined Scotsman who provided the assist, bending a left-footed cross towards Pedersen, who flashed a quite stunning volley past Pollitt from close range.
Nobody could argue that Blackburn did not deserve their lead, and Dickov was keen to double it - darting in behind The Latics' troubled defence to shoot narrowly wide.
Wigan's own strike partnership have been firing on all cylinders of late, but they were getting little change from a well-marshalled Rovers back four, with a solitary shot in anger from Lee McCulloch their only offering in a poor opening half hour.
However, one can never rule out Paul Jewell's men whilst Henri Camara and Jason Roberts are on the pitch, and they nearly combined to deadly effect five minutes before the break, with the Senegalese firing wide after powerful play from his colleague.
The half time whistle came at the wrong time from a neutral's perspective as the game began to boil up nicely, with chances arriving at both ends before the break.
First, McCulloch had another good volleyed chance as Wigan attempted to equalise, before Dickov may well have done better with another opportunity created by the fine aerial work of Kuqi.
High balls into the box appeared to be the order of the day, and Arjan de Zeeuw saw his header cleared off the line before the first 45 minutes had elapsed, much to the frustration of the home support.
Blackburn once again looked the more determined side as the teams came out after the interval, and their leader Robbie Savage was actually guilty of being too over-zealous - opting for an audacious shot when a calm head could have slipped Kuqi in on goal.
In truth, the early stages of the second period were lacking in quality, but that all changed as Reid doubled Rovers' lead with a strike that eclipsed that of Pedersen in the first half.
Wigan appeared to have cleared the danger as Pascal Chimbonda stooped to clear David Bentley's cross, but Reid simply thumped a 25-yard rocket past the helpless Pollitt to make it 2-0.
Jewell responded with a swift double change involving Damien Francis and David Connolly, whilst Hughes looked to counter attack through the pace of substitute Bellamy.
Inevitably, the game opened up as Wigan threw caution to the wind in pursuit of a way back into the match, and Michael Gray almost benefited - waltzing through the home rearguard before blasting over with his right foot.
The Latics' task was becoming increasingly difficult as Blackburn filtered two banks of four in front of Brad Friedel, but to their credit Wigan kept battering away as McCulloch saw another snap-shot fly high and wide.
Unfortunately, chances were failing to arrive with the frequency that the hosts desired, and when one late golden opportunity for Connolly was thwarted by Friedel, Rovers knew it would be their day.
All that remained was for the visitors to wrap things up, and Bellamy duly obliged, calmly slotting into the bottom corner after a bit of ping-pong on the edge of the Wigan penalty area.
Click here for Wigan v Blackburn player ratings.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Name||Blackburn Rovers|
|4||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||5|
|5||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||6|
|10||Total Fouls Conceded||13|