Superb fightback puts Latics in driving seat for the title – Blackburn Rovers 2 Wigan Athletic 2

Max Power

Max Power levelled with a perfectly executed free-kick

Latics produced a superb second-half performance to comeback from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the top of the table clash with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Adam Armstrong produced a clinical finish from the edge of the area to give Rovers an early lead and they increased their advantage in controversial fashion on 17 minutes when Bradley Dack appeared to foul Nathan Byrne and Elliott Bennett broke free to score from a tight angle.

Latics will feel hard done-by with Rovers second goal but they showed great character and determination to dominate the second-half and fightback to share the points.

Substitute James Vaughan won an important header in the box on 63 minutes and the ball fell to Michael Jacobs whose shot was deflected home via top scorer Will Grigg.

On 73 minutes Latics deservedly drew level when Max Power’s perfectly executed free-kick from the left hand side evaded everyone at the near post including Rovers keeper David Raya.

Latics dominated the latter stages but despite opportunities for Vaughan and Chey Dunkley they couldn’t quite take advantage.

The result puts Latics in prime position to win the League One title as they have four games in hand and are only six points behind leaders Blackburn.

Paul Cook made six changes from the team which had defeated Rochdale 1-0 last Saturday with captain Sam Morsy,  Nick Powell, Callum Elder, Gavin Massey, Byrne and Grigg returning to the starting eleven.

Latics started brightly, but against the run of play Rovers broke quickly and went ahead when Dack fed Armstrong, who produced an excellent finish into the corner giving Christian Walton no chance from the edge of the area.

Latics might have quickly drawn level when Grigg pulled the ball back to Massey but the winger’s tame effort spun wide of Raya’s right-hand post.

Matters got worse for Latics moments later when Rovers went controversially two up. Dack wrestled Byrne wide on the touchline and pulled him to the floor but referee Geoff Eltringham waved play on, and Dack set up Bennett who broke free and finished at the near post past Walton.

The referee struggled to cope with the fast moving encounter and his decision-making was increasingly erratic for both sides.

Powell was in the thick of the action and was involved in a few overly aggressive challenges from Rovers players. The mercurial midfielder nearly reduced the deficit on 34 minutes when his acrobatic over-head kick from ten yards unfortunately found the grateful hands of Raya.

Latics 2-0 down at the break and Cook would need to work his special magic for the second-half.

Early in the half Walton made an important save when he tipped over Corry Evans dangerous volley from the edge of the area.

Cook introduced substitute Vaughan on the hour mark as the manager looked to give Grigg greater support up front.

Vaughan won an important header on 63 minutes and the ball fell to Michael Jacobs whose shot was deflected home via the knee of Latics top scorer Grigg.

Ten minutes later and Latics got the leveller they deserved when Power’s perfectly executed free-kick from the left hand side evaded everyone at the near post including Rovers keeper David Raya.

Latics were now in the ascendancy and they pressed for the winner but despite chances for Vaughan and Chey Dunkley they couldn’t make it count.

It had been an impressive comeback by Latics against difficult opponents. They had shown fantastic character and determination in adversity. A defeat would have been a big setback for Latics but they are now in the driving seat in the race for the League One title with four games in hand and only six points behind Rovers.

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Adam Armstrong, Blackburn Rovers, Elliott Bennett, League One, Max Power, Wigan Athletic, Will Grigg and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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