Ince on edge after Wigan woe
Wigan easily beat Blackburn 3-0 at the JJB Stadium to heap more pressure on Rovers boss Paul Ince.
Last Updated: 13/12/08 7:02pm
Winger Antonio Valencia was the star as Wigan easily beat Blackburn 3-0 at the JJB Stadium to heap yet more pressure on Rovers boss Paul Ince.
Valencia scored one and made goals for Emile Heskey and Lee Cattermole as sorry Rovers slumped to their sixth successive league defeat.
Heskey opened the scoring on 10 minutes when Valencia left Stephen Warnock for dead on the right and played the ball into the England striker at the near post and he back-heeled it into the net.
Two minutes later Valencia doubled the advantage after Mario Melchiot had fed him the ball following a Paul Robinson kick. The Rovers defenders backed off to allow him to run into the right side of the box and score into the bottom corner.
Then Cattermole - who hit the cross bar in the first-half - added the crucial third on 77 minutes from a Valencia cross on the right to seal the win.
Rovers have now gone 11 games without a win in the top flight and are five points from safety.
Their midfield was too pedestrian - no surprise with the 38-year-old Tugay holding the centre - and the defence too slow to react and Wigan had time to knock the ball around at their leisure.
Ecuador international Valencia showed he would be a threat in only the second minute when he broke down the right and crossed for Amr Zaki only for Christopher Samba to cut out the danger.
From another deep Valencia cross, Ryan Taylor should have done better but he fluffed his kick at the far post and Andre Ooijer deflected the shot wide.
It was no surprise when the Ecuador winger created the first goal in the 10th minute.
After skipping past left-back Warnock he burst into the area and drilled a pass to the near post where Heskey cleverly back-heeled past Robinson.
It got worse two minutes later when Valencia collected Melchiot's header wide on the right and set off for the penalty area.
With defenders inexplicably backing off he continued his run before firing low across Robinson and into the far corner.
Scharner almost made it 3-0 from Taylor's inswinging free-kick in the 20th minute but he just failed to jump high enough.
In contrast, Blackburn's first shot did not come until the 25th minute and even then Matt Derbyshire drove straight at Chris Kirkland.
Valencia almost grabbed his second in the 38th minute when a half-cleared corner fell to him on the right of the area but his fierce shot was a little too high.
Blackburn's best chance of the half came three minutes before the interval when Samba headed over Morten Gamst Pedersen's right-wing corner.
However, Wigan could have put the game beyond Rovers before the break with Cattermole's looping header beating Robinson but bouncing back off the crossbar and Zaki bobbling a shot wide.
Ince made a change at the start of the second half, bringing on David Dunn for Pedersen - the midfielder's first appearance since 28th August because of an Achilles injury.
The former Birmingham midfielder immediately brought more invention to a side desperately lacking in confidence after their first-half battering as Brett Emerton curled a 28-yard free-kick over in the 56th minute.
Robinson suffered a blow to the head when Zaki dived in to reach Taylor's low free-kick but, after diverting the ball wide, his knee connected with the England goalkeeper, who required several minutes' treatment.
Kirkland, who had been a virtual spectator, had to be alert to divert the ball around a post after Emerton's free-kick was deflected through a crowd of players and almost wrong-footed him.
Dunn then tested Kirkland with a 25-yard shot in the 67th minute as Rovers continued to work their way back into the game.
Rovers' fate was sealed, however, when Cattermole struck in the 77th minute. Again Valencia was the provider as his cross was dummied by Taylor on the edge of the area and the unmarked Cattermole curled home right-footed.Rovers, second bottom in the table, cannot afford many more performances like this if they are to save their manager's job and their season.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Statistics||Blackburn Rovers|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|6||Shots off Target||8|