Date: Saturday 3rd April 2014
Venue: Ewood Park
Referee: Roger East
An enthralling game, in which defensive errors where pervasive throughout, saw Wigan Athletic go into the play-off semi-final on the back of a defeat after losing to Blackburn Rovers 4-3.
Blackburn, who were aiming to end the season having been unbeaten in twelve games, drew first blood as player of the season, Tom Cairney, slotted past Scott Carson after an emphatic run from way outside the Latics’ box.
Within two minutes, however, Wigan were level after a Martyn Waghorn corner was met by the head of Nicky Maynard. This header from Maynard hit the crossbar and landed onto the head of Ivan Ramis, who nodded into an open net.
With just twenty minutes on the clock, Rovers found themselves in front again through Rudy Gestede’s shot from twelve yards out. No one closed the Blackburn man down and he was able to get a shot off, which crept into the net.
And fifteen minutes later, Gestede scored his second and Blackburn’s third of the day as he was allowed a free header ten yards from the Latics’ goal. The header was directed into the bottom left hand corner of Carson’s net and the former England number one was given no chance.
After a woeful first half for the Latics, it could only get better and it did as they attempted to push up on the Rovers defence in search of goals.
Then, with half an hour to go, James McClean made the score-line 3-2 with a smashed shot from twelve yards out. A Roger Espinoza cross was cleared into the path of McClean who took a swing at the ball and the resulting shot found its way into the net.
Jordan Rhodes more or less killed the game off with six minutes to go as he was unmarked in the centre of the Latics’ box and rose above Stephen Crainey to head Blackburn 4-2 in front.
However, the largely disappointing Maynard scored a cracker of a goal to jangle the nerves of Blackburn fans with three minutes to go. Having been delivered the ball, Maynard took a few touches forward and then, twenty yards from goal, had a shot which Blackburn keeper, Paul Robinson, saw late and could not keep out.
Unfortunately, Wigan could not complete the comeback and ended up losing 4-3. This result was not enough to see Blackburn into the play-off places but Wigan are set to play Queens Park Rangers on Friday in the first leg of the play-off semi-final.