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Rovers 2 Wigan 1.


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Despite conceding an early goal, Rovers bounced back against Wigan this afternoon to claim all 3 points.

Heskey's early goal was cancelled out by David Bentley goal just before half time.

Despite dominating the second half, Rovers conceded a penalty, however substitute keeper Jason Brown, making his premiership debut, made a triple save to keep Rovers level before Roberts and McCarthy linked to allow McCarthy to get Rovers winning goal.

match report by Blue blood

What a game, though it didn't do my nerves any good. The contrast between the first and second halves was immense in my game. In the first we were shocking, in the second we were excellent.

For some reason we weren't at the races in the first half, which I think was down to complacancy after our excellent performance on thursday night. (I would've written a post on that but I reckon that excellent sums up the performance vs Salzberg.) The first five minutes weren't bad - bar a soft goal that we gave away, as we had a couple of dangerous attacking moves. After that we really were awful misplaced passes, giving the wigan players too much room, struggling to compete for the ball. It really was rovers at their worst.

Nice as the move for our equaliser was I'm sure every rovers fan in the ground was amazed that we were going in at half time on level terms. To be honest we really didn't deserve to be, but it did give us a great starting point for the second half. If it had have been 0-1 Wigan may have defended that bit deeper and made it more difficult, as it was we had a great chance to push on.

I'm not sure what Hughes said at half time but it did the trick, and rovers were excellent and all over them in the second half. I thought everyone did well battling for the ball and only have 3 gripes about an otherwise impressive second half display.

1) we don't take enough of the mountain of chances we made (perhaps the same could be said of in the Salzberg game.)

2) In a similar vein there were several times a bit more directness would've done wonders. We had several runs where the player should have had a go or kept pushing forward but stopped and laid it off.

3) Ooijer and Zurab look very shakey, especially Ooijer. What a stupid penalty to give away. What Hughes sees in him is beyond me - get rid quick he doesn't look up to the physical nature of the premiership.

An excellent debute by Brown - who'se penalty double save really kept us in it. If that'd have gone in I doubt we'd have won given our wasteful nature in front of goal. The lad made another good save too, and his distribution seemed good as well - man of the match in my oppinion.

Up front especially we look very strong. Nonda, Roberts and McCarthy all look threatening, and Jeffers is showing signs of why he was once so highly rated. Jeffers really seems to lack that confidence that is so important for a striker.

The full backs again looked good. As did all the midfield, although we really need to strengthen here with at least one if not two quality players. The options on the bench aren't that great when compaired to our striking options for example.

All in all an excellent game showing the highs and lows of supporting rovers. It was also a great game for the neutral and it was a real shame not more people witnessed it. Overall we deserved the three points as we created much more in our dominant half than wigan did.

Mark Hughes on Jason Brown:

"Jason came in and did exceptionally well. It was a great debut.

"It is important when you get the opportunity you try to take it and Jason did exceptionally well in that respect.

"I always knew Jason had potential and it was a big decision when he came here because he could have gone as a first-choice keeper at a lower level.

"But he has got great confidence in his own ability and he feels he can make it at the very top level - and you would not argue with that on today's performance."

Rovers: Friedel (Brown 45), Emerton, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Neill, Bentley, Savage, Tugay (Mokoena 70), Pedersen, McCarthy, Jeffers (Roberts 70).

Subs Not Used: Gallagher, McEveley.

Booked: Jeffers, Ooijer, Mokoena.

Goals: Bentley 45, McCarthy 81.

Wigan: Kirkland, Boyce, Jackson, De Zeeuw, Baines, Landzaat, Scharner, Valencia (Teale 67), Kilbane (McCulloch 74), Heskey, Camara (Todorov 64).

Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Johansson.

Booked: Scharner, Kilbane, Baines, Landzaat.

Goals: Heskey 2.

Att: 17,859.

Ref: H Webb

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