It was an empty handed retreat over the hill back to Wigan for Roberto Martinez and his charges after Croatian Nikola Kalinic’s 76th minute strike gave Blackburn Rovers all three points in this Lancashire derby.


BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – EWOOD PARK – Wednesday January 27th 2010
Pedersen 20
Kalinic 76
Caldwell 57

Latics looked to have salvaged something from the game thanks to Gary Caldwell’s first goal in a Wigan shirt cancelled out Morten Gamst Pedersen’s first half opener but yet again it wasn’t to be as Wigan continued their drought at Ewood Park.

Mario Melchiot returned to the side sporting a mask to protect a broken nose after missing out against Notts County in the FA Cup and Charles N’Zogbia returned to the starting line up alongside Hendry Thomas who had just served a one match suspension for his dismissal at Wolves.

Vladimir Stojkovic kept his place in goal to make his Premier League debut in the absence of the injured Chris Kirkland but the Serbian failed to match his impressive display at Meadow Lane over the weekend with his decision to come flying from his line to clear a Brett Emmerton ball ultimately paved the way for Pedersen to fire home his third league goal of the season.

Wigan got off to a flying start with Hugo Rodallega forcing Rovers keeper Paul Robinson into a smart save at the expense of a corner inside the first minute after Kalinic had lost possession from the kick off.

The home side’s first chance of note arrived in the fifth minute after Nzonzi had done well to prevent the ball going out for a goal kick from David Hoilett’s hopeful back to the back post.

With Stojkovic also chasing down, leaving his goal vulnerable, the French midfielder pulled the ball back into the path of Kalinic but his effort from six yards came back off the upright and was booted upfield and out of play by Caldwell.

The game then became a scrappy affair but a moment of madness from the Wigan keeper and one of pure class from Blackburn’s Norwegian international prevented the game from turning into a damp squib.

Rovers earned themselves a free kick yards inside the Wigan half which Emerton duly delivered towards a crowded penalty area.

For reasons probably only known to himself Wigan’s on loan keeper decided to come charging off his line to the penalty spot despite the presence of every one of his team mates.

His punch clear landed only as far as Morten Gamst Pedersen just outside of the area and the 28-year-old smashed it home first time with the keeper stranded yards from his goal and Gary Caldwell, covering the line, unable to do anything about it. However it did appear that he former Celtic captain attempted to actually save the shot himself!

Hoilett went agonisingly close to bagging his first league goal on 34 minutes after combining well with Martin Olsson down the left blank but the young Canadian could only find the side netting with Stojkovic scrambling to cover.

A Rodallega whipped in free kick three minutes later fooled everyone as it flew across the face of goal with Scharner’s head only inches away from getting the necessary contact at the far post.

Wigan finished the first half the stronger and came out after the break still searching for the goal that would bring them back into the game and that arrived just over 10 minutes after the restart.

James McCarthy floated a corner kick into the middle of the six-yard box where Gary Caldwell got the better of former Wigan defender Pascal Chimbonda to nod past Robinson for his first goal in English football.

Pedersen then almost doubled his tally for the evening when he rose to meet a Emerton cross to head against the crossbar, colliding with Batman, sorry I mean Mario Melchiot, in the process.

The pair received treatmeant as a result of the coming together with the Wigan skipper unable to continue and was eventually replaced by Emmerson Boyce.

Martinez and his men looked to have done just enough to earn something from the game but the Blackburn’s persistance proved to be edge that they needed and with little less than 15 minutes of normal time remaining they were rewarded with the decisive goal.

An unusual mistake from Figueroa gifted Blackburn a corner which Pedersen sent over to the middle of the box and virtually unmarked Nikola Kalinic headed home from six-yards-out.

The Croatian was replaced a couple of minutes later by another former Wigan Athletic favourite this time in the shape of Jason Roberts – the only difference is that Roberts gets a warmer reception from the Wigan faithful than his team mate Chimbonda.

Martinez threw on Jason Scotland and Scott Sinclair in the final five minutes in a bid to freshen up his attack but the home side hung on to inflict defeat on Wigan for the first time since the turn of the year.

It’s the DW Stadium this weekend for the first league game at home since Boxing Day when in form Everton will be the visitors.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Attendance: 22,190
1 Paul Robinson 29 Vladimir Stojkovic
39 Pascal Chimbonda 19 Titus Bramble
6 Ryan Nelsen 5 Gary Caldwell
21 Martin Olsson 7 Paul Scharner
7 Brett Emerton 25 Mario Melchiot
5 Gael Givet 31 Maynor Figueroa
12 Morten Gamst Pedersen 14 Charles N’Zogbia
15 Steven Nzonzi 27 Mohamed Diame
23 David Hoilett 24 James McCarthy
18 El-Hadji Diouf 6 Hendry Thomas
22 Nikola Kalinic 20 Hugo Rodallega
32 Jason Brown 12 Mike Pollitt
27 Michael Salgado 4 Antonio Amaya
28 Phil Jones 2 Steve Gohouri
17 Keith Andrews 15 Jordi Gomez
26 Franco Di Santo 17 Emmerson Boyce
16 Steven Reid 16 Scott Sinclair
9 Jason Roberts 9 Jason Scotland
20′ Goal Morten Gamst Pedersen    
54′ Player OffDavid Hoilett
Player OnSteven Reid
57′     Goal Gary Caldwell
59′ Yellow Card Steven Reid    
67′     Player OffMario Melchiot
Player OnEmmerson Boyce
71′     Yellow Card Mohamed Diame
76′ Goal Nikola Kalinic    
77′ Player OffEl-Hadji Diouf
Player OnFranco Di Santo
78′ Player OffNikola Kalinic
Player OnJason Roberts
83′ Yellow Card Steven Nzonzi    
86′     Player OffHendry Thomas
Player OnScott Sinclair
86′     Player OffJames McCarthy
Player OnJason Scotland
90′ Yellow Card Paul Robinson