Premier League - Wigan win seven-goal thriller

Sat, 05 Feb 17:02:00 2011

Wigan recorded their first league win of 2011 after edging out Blackburn in a 4-3 thriller at the DW Stadium.

Jason Roberts converted Brett Emerton's low cross from close range against his former club to break the deadlock halfway through the first period.

But the home side were able to draw level through James McCarthy twelve minutes later after Paul Robinson had saved Emmerson Boyce's initial shot.

The game kicked into overdrive shortly after half-time when the Latics raced into a 3-1 lead through Hugo Rodallega and McCarthy's second before Rovers skipper Chris Samba headed home a lifeline.

But despite a penalty for each side, converted by Ben Watson and David Dunn respectively, Blackburn were unable to prevent Wigan notching their first victory in eight games.

Roberto Martinez's men got off to a bright start, but were unable to maintain momentum in a see-saw opening 45.

And it was the visitors to draw first blood, Roberts keeping his promise not to celebrate after finishing off good play from Emerton and David Hoilett.

Wigan withstood some heavy pressure as Steve Kean's men hunted for a two-goal lead, but were able to get back on level terms thanks to McCarthy's alertness to pounce as Robinson parried from Boyce.

The first half fizzled out from there but that was the last of any dullness in this Northwest derby - it took just five minutes following the restart for the Latics to turn the game on its head.

Consistent rainfall had helped devastate the playing conditions and as a result, Samba was unable to judge a long Wigan punt correctly, allowing Rodallega to snatch possession and fire home.

Athletic doubled their lead just six minutes later with the best goal of the seven on display - Charles N'Zogbia tormented the Rovers backline amidst a long stream of Wigan possession before feeding McCarthy inside the penalty area.

The midfielder used superb skills to turn at goal while keeping the ball under control before curling into Robinson's far bottom corner.

The hosts had a grand total of two minutes to feel comfortable: Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner should have been dealt with by Ali Al Habsi, but the otherwise-solid keeper flapped at the ball allowing Samba to make amends with a powerful header.

Seven minutes later Wigan were able to reclaim their two-goal cushion after Michel Salgado brought down Mohamed Diame inches inside the box.

The veteran right-back was incensed by the decision, but was booked just before Ben Watson made it 4-2 by blasting down the middle.

As an exhilarating game entered its final ten minutes, it appeared there'd be hope yet for Blackburn when Boyce caught substitute Dunn as he burst into the box at full speed.

Dunn converted the penalty himself, slotting just past the outstretched grasp of Al Habsi into the right-hand bottom corner.

But despite some nervous moments on a horrendous pitch in the dying stages, Wigan held on to give themselves a glimmer of hope in their relegation battle.

Liam Happe / Eurosport

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