Ghana's No. 1

Wigan draw at Blackburn in Maloney's first game

Published on: 06 February 2023

Blackburn's Ben Brereton Diaz had a clear sight of goal but his strike lacked conviction

Shaun Maloney's reign as Wigan Athletic manager began with an attritional Championship stalemate at Blackburn Rovers.

The newly appointed Latics boss, one of Wigan's 2013 FA Cup heroes, saw his bottom-of-the-table side enjoy the better of the Ewood Park exchange with a spirited display against their play-off chasing hosts.

Although the goalless draw - Wigan's first clean sheet since the corresponding fixture in October - was not enough to move them off the foot of the table, the performance brought greater cheer to the visiting supporters than the disgruntled home fans.

Blackburn were the brighter of the two sides early on but Maloney's men grew in confidence.

Despite a promising start the game increasingly became hard going, with few clear-cut chances being created.

By the full-time whistle it was Wigan who were the happier of the two clubs, with a strong and resilient display - a far cry from their defensive troubles under Maloney's predecessor Kolo Toure.

For Jon Dahl Tomasson it was a night of frustration at his Blackburn side toiled with little imagination.

And yet the opening stages offered hope. Ben Amos came to Wigan's rescue in the fourth minute when he was down quickly to smother Ben Brereton Diaz's shot. The Blackburn man was given way too much space down the right of Wigan's half but his finish was poor, with the striker signposting his shot as he prepared to pull the trigger.

Wigan kept pushing as Blackburn began to run out of ideas during the first half. A cross-field ball from Omar Rekik gave fellow debutant Danel Sinani some space to move into. He cut inside, seizing on the gap created by Max Power's overlapping run, only to see his shot peel away from Aynsley Pears' goal.

Blackburn responded with their own period of first-half pressure - Amos again quick to respond to Sorba Thomas' 45th-minute shot.

New boy Martin Kelly made his mark for the visitors just after the hour. Blackburn's low cross looked destined to reach Bradley Dack, only for the recent loan signing from West Brom to clear the danger.

And the Latics could consider themselves unfortunate not to take the lead within minutes. James McClean's corner was met by Kelly at the far post, but the goal was disallowed due to Callum Lang's tangle with Lewis Travis being interpreted as a foul in the hosts' favour - despite replays being inconclusive.

Kelly's night was to end on a sad note, with the defender being forced off in clear discomfort after badly twisting his knee.

Blackburn had a late shout for a penalty when Pickering appeared to stumble in the box. No foul was given.

The result leaves Wigan bottom of the table, despite drawing level with Blackpool on 26 points.

For Blackburn there was a feeling of points being wasted, despite moving above Millwall and level with sixth-placed West Brom.

Both sets of players clashed late on after Wigan's James McClean fouled Blackburn midfielder Joe Rankin-Costello

Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson:

"We knew it would tough. Wigan are fighting for their lives with a new manager but I'm disappointed we didn't win the game. We had passes we didn't finish off, we gave very few things away and I'm pleased with the clean sheet but we have to be disappointed not to win.

"The most difficult thing is to score goals. We had opportunities and we should have had a penalty at the end too. I could only see from the side but it looked like there was contact.

"But overall we need to be more clinical. We had a few crosses but were never on the right spot so I'm disappointed we didn't win the game."

Wigan manager Shaun Maloney:

"It's a good start. We had to defend a lot in the second half so I was pleased - it's been months since we had a clean sheet.

"The mentality especially was excellent. And to turn in a performance like that makes me really happy. We now have 17 games to go. And they're big games for us.

"Martin's [Kelly] injury doesn't look good. We will find out in the next couple of days so that's very upsetting and devastating for him. He's a leader, he's been amazing around the dressing room so it's devastating.

"We were a bit lucky at the end [with the penalty] but I think we earned the draw with the work-rate. We know we have to show more of that, stop conceding and become harder to beat."

    Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text


Formation 4-2-3-1


    13Pears11Rankin-CostelloBooked at 88mins17CarterBooked at 70mins16Wharton3Pickering27Travis21BuckleySubstituted forMortonat 62'minutes14ThomasSubstituted forHedgesat 80'minutes23DackSubstituted forSzmodicsat 80'minutes22BreretonBooked at 84mins29ValeSubstituted forGallagherat 62'minutes




Formation 3-4-2-1


    12Amos34KellySubstituted forCaulkerat 75'minutes5Whatmough24RekikSubstituted forPearceat 55'minutes27Darikwa22Tiéhi8Power11McCleanBooked at 88mins25SinaniSubstituted forAasgaardat 66'minutes19Lang10KeaneSubstituted forWykeat 75'minutes



Referee:Matt DonohueAttendance:14,540Match StatsHome TeamBlackburnAway TeamWiganPossessionHome56%Away44%ShotsHome9Away11Shots on TargetHome3Away1CornersHome7Away7FoulsHome10Away13Live Text Post update

Match ends, Blackburn Rovers 0, Wigan Athletic 0.

90'+9'Full Time

Second Half ends, Blackburn Rovers 0, Wigan Athletic 0.

90'+8'Post update

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

90'+7'Post update

Delay in match because of an injury Ben Amos (Wigan Athletic).

90'+7'Post update

Attempt saved. Sammie Szmodics (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the bottom left corner.

90'+4'Post update

Attempt missed. Tyler Morton (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

90'+3'Post update

Foul by Max Power (Wigan Athletic).

90'+3'Post update

Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90'+2'Post update

Attempt blocked. Thelo Aasgaard (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

90'+1'Post update

Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90'+1'Post update

Foul by Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers).


Joe Rankin-Costello (Blackburn Rovers) is shown the yellow card.


James McClean (Wigan Athletic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

87'Post update

Joe Rankin-Costello (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87'Post update

Foul by James McClean (Wigan Athletic).

85'Post update

Attempt blocked. Jack Whatmough (Wigan Athletic) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James McClean with a cross.


Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

84'Post update

Max Power (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

84'Post update

Foul by Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers).

83'Post update

Attempt missed. Harry Pickering (Blackburn Rovers) left footed shot from more than 35 yards is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ryan Hedges following a set piece situation.

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