Blackburn 0-1 Wigan Athletic

Antolin Alcaraz (pictured celebrating far left) netted the game's only goal with a great header which set off contrasting emotions around the stadium



By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor from Ewood Park

Blackburn have been relegated to the Championship for the first time since 1998 after Antolin Alcaraz headed in to give Wigan a 1-0 win at Ewood Park, ensuring their Premier League status next season.

The defender headed the Latics to victory from a corner late on a rainy and rancorous night at Ewood Park.

Blackburn made a few changes from their disastrous 2-0 loss at Tottenham in which they were very poor: Marcus Olsson replaced brother Martin, and loan signing Modeste – sent off on his only appearance for Blackburn this season – replaced Formica, both were on the bench.

Wigan, however, kept the same eleven players which thrashed Newcastle 4-0 last Saturday, the 6th time in 7 games they had used the same 11 players.



Wigan have picked up the most points out of anyone in the Premier League in the last 8 games (18) whilst Blackburn have picked up the fewest (3). 

Only a win would have given Rovers a chance of avoiding the drop but they were sloppy and shot-shy; the visitors were lively in the first half, less so in the second, but took their chance to claim a decisive win.

Manager Steve Kean has regularly been the focal point for abuse from frustrated Rovers fans, unhappy with his management and the way the club is being run by the owners, Indian poultry firm Venky's.

This continued on Monday in the form of mass chanting throughout, a lone fan invading the pitch at the start of the second half and, presumably, the reason why a chicken draped in a Blackburn flag appeared in the Wigan box five minutes into the game and had to be caught by Latics goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.

Blackburn seemed to be chickened out by that intruder and Paul Robinson, as he has for all of the season, kept Rovers in it with a great save round the post. He couldn't hold onto a shot by Victor Moses but Wigan wasted the corner.

Blackburn regained some composure and possession but just couldn't find a way through Wigan's strange 3-4-3 formation; Wigan were able to keep them at arm's length.

Wigan started the 2nd period in a very sloppy manner, and Caldwell had to be alert to prevent Modeste getting his maiden goal for Rovers with an excellent block.

Modeste then got closer as he forced Al Habsi into a save but the Omanese held on comfortably.



Blackburn have now conceded fifteen goals this season from set-pieces- more than any other Premier League team.

On 69 minutes, Blackburn getting back into the game after conceding needless fouls- in which Petrovic and Pedersen were cautioned, Yakubu found Modeste, yet Al Habsi was again equal to it.

As the climax started to materialise, Wigan again began to create some decent chances: Di Santo was denied by a smart stop by Robinson, although on the break the home side were still a threat, as seen when Al Habsi denied Hoillett seconds later. 

Wigan thought they had the lead; and they would have done if not for an outstanding double save by Robinson: First, Moses took a shot and although the England keeper spilled it, he recovered to then deny McCarthy's rebound. 

But the Latics finally broke Rovers' resistance with the goal that condemned them to the drop. When the sides met earlier in the season, Blackburn got lucky with decisions that went their way, and defender Alcaraz had probably his worst game in a blue shirt - last night however, his header from Beausajour's excellent, inswinging corner from the left, appitmised not just the strides he's made as an individual in recent weeks, but the progress Wigan has made as a whole. 1-0 and not what anyone expected. 

The goal four minutes from time heightened calls for Kean's sacking and the exit of Venky's, which only increased when the final whistle was blown to confirm Rovers' fate.

Venky's looked set to be rewarded for sticking with Kean when he led them six points clear of the drop zone following a win over Sunderland on 20 March, but a disastrous run of seven defeats in eight games since then has cost the club.

Their performance here was meek as they limped out of the division. It was only in the second half that they had any attacking impetus and even then this was only intermittently.

Yakubu, who has been one of very few redeeming features of Blackburn's season, had a close-range volley blocked on the line and Junior Hoilett, their other shining light, was clearly caught by a swinging boot Emmerson Boyce, but when referee Mark Clattenburg waved away the penalty appeals, Rovers hopes were dented.

Blackburn's plight has been compounded by the form of Wigan, who were rock bottom when Rovers beat Sunderland but, in stark contrast to Kean's side, have been in scintillating form since late March, including hugely impressive victories over Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle.

The Latics’ success is testimony to their manager Roberto Martinez, who has stuck to his passing principles, and owner Dave Whelan, who remained loyal to the Spaniard despite the threat of relegation.

The visitors were sharp throughout, zipping passes neatly around the increasingly wet surface and always looked the more likely to score.

It is a remarkable sixth victory in eight games for the Latics and leaves them five points clear of the relegation zone with one game left to play. The result brings about a disastrous conclusion to what has been a turbulent season for Blackburn and their manager Steve Kean and an end to their 11-year stay in the Premier League.


Alex Byrom
The Football Site-  Deputy Football Editor




Monday 7th May 2012

Barclays Premier League

Ewood Park


Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Wigan Athletic                       KO 8pm              (HT 0-0)

                             Alcaraz 87


Blackburn:  01. Robinson (C)- 6/10, 18. Orr- 6/10 (Orr 80- 2/10), 16. Dann- 6.5/10, 05. Givet- 5.5/10 (Petrovic 45- 4/10), 03. Martin Olsson- 5.5/10, 23. Hoilett- 6/10, 08. Dunn- 4/10 (Goodwillie 44- 4.5/10), 35. Lowe- 6/10, 12. Pedersen- 5/10, -09. Modeste- 4/10, 22. Yakubu- 6/10.

Subs not used:  34. Kean, 10. Formica, 15. N'Zonzi, 20. Rochina.

Booked:       Petrovic (59), Pedersen (67).


Wigan Athletic:  01. Al Habsi- 6.5/10, 03. Alcaraz- 9/10, 05. Caldwell (C)- 8.5/10, 31. Figueroa- 8/10, 17. Boyce- 7/10, 04. McCarthy- 7.5/10, 16. McCarthur- 8/10, 22. Beausajour- 7/10, 11. Moses- 8/10, 09. Di Santo- 7/10 (Sammon 80- 2/10), 10. Maloney- 7.5/10.

Subs not used:  12. Pollitt, 07. Crusat, 08. Watson, 14. Gomez, 20. Rodallega, 21. Diame 

Booked:       Moses (71)


My Man of the Match:     Antolin Alcaraz (Wigan Athletic)- Rating 9/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     David Dunn (Blackburn Rovers)- Rating 4/10



Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear)- 8.5/10
Attendance: 26,144



Match Facts

Possession: Blackburn- 44%             Wigan Athletic- 56%

Shots: Blackburn- 12             Wigan Athletic- 19

Shots on target: Blackburn- 7             Wigan Athletic- 9

Shots off target: Blackburn- 5             Wigan Athletic- 10

Corners: Blackburn- 5             Wigan Athletic- 6

Fouls: Blackburn- 14             Wigan Athletic- 12

Offside: Blackburn- 3             Wigan Athletic- 2

Assists: Blackburn- None             Wigan Athletic- Beausejour



Steve Kean - Blackburn Rovers Manager

"I am not going to walk away [from this position]. I will sit down with the owners and discuss a plan on how to assemble a squad to help us bounce back quickly. We are devestated; we are numb: I am numb, the players are too. It's difficult to say what the dressing room is like. A few things were thrown our way in the media this week, questionning our attitude at the game last week [against Spurs], but tonight I think we gave it a real good go. The disappointing thing is that we couldn't take it to the last game. We will be back to fight another day."

Click here to hear the Blackburn Manager's full thoughts 

Click here to hear the thoughts of former Blackburn Player Robbie Savage

Click here to see how a chicken interrupted the match



Roberto Martinez - Wigan Athletic Manager

"It's a big day in our history, it's a remarkable achievement. These players deserve a huge amount of credit for what they have done. We have belief, but that comes from results. The key moment in our history was the win at Anfield [2-1 win over Liverpool]. We had been playing well without getting the results we needed and that game alowed us to believe that we could win games. From then on, it was a very consistent run of form. It is  well-deserved haul of points. The fans never lost belief in us or in myself; that comes from stability. That allowed the players more of a feeling to try things. Our stability has come from the Chairman [Dave Whelan] who has been patient and a strong-minded person. The foootball clubfollows in that lead and allows us to be together as one."
Make a Free Website with Yola.