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17:06 26th December 2009


Second-half revival not enough to earn win for Latics

Rodallega 53
McCarthy 10

Report by Paul Chialton

Hugo Rodallega's seventh goal of the season burst this Boxing Day clash into life, but it wasn't enough to inspire victory over Blackburn Rovers, in Latics' final home game of the decade.

It was Charles N'Zogbia who was the architect for the home side's revival, his energised performance caused Rovers all manner of problems throughout the game, and shortly before the hour-mark he provided the telling cross for Rodallega to tower above the defence and head home from six-yards,

It proved to be a goal that injected life into a game that struggled to get going with few chances for either side.

Christopher Samba had come closest to putting Latics ahead after just ten minutes when his backward header caught Paul Robinson off-guard, but the 'keeper recovered in time to prevent the perfect start.

Blackburn carved out one or two decent chances, and when Ryan Nelsen met a Keith Andrews free-kick inside the area, he teed up Benni McCarthy to open the scoring after half-an-hour.

But not to be disheartened Roberto Martinez's men fought back, with Jason Scotland and Jordi Gomez shifting up a gear or two and Hugo Rodallega pushing up-front to put the opposition on the back-foot.

With a little composure and the willingness to take a gamble the score-line could have been very different, as Gomez found himself bursting into the Blackburn half time and time again but choosing to play the ball rather than test Robinson.

But as well as working hard up-front there were some excellent displays at the back, Hendry Thomas was superb, full of energy and not giving up on anything, breaking down attacks and inspiring his team.

Credit too goes to Chris Kirkland who was dominant inside his area, claiming everything that was crossed in and providing some match-saving saves, none more so than from McCarthy eight-minutes from the end. The striker's acrobatic overhead kick from six-yards seemed a certain goal, but Kirky charged it down and got himself right behind it to save the day.

In all many will say it was a fair result, but on the basis of Latics' second-half revival it is a game Martinez's team could well have earned three points from.

Latics: Kirkland; Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa; Thomas, Scharner; N'Zogbia, Gomez, Rodallega; Scotland

Subs: Kingson, Amaya, Cho, Sinclair, de Ridder, McCarthy, Bouaouzan

Blackburn: Robinson; Salgado (Gamst Pedersen, 76), Nelsen, Samba, Chimbonda (Jacobsen, 67), Givet; Nzonzi, Andrews, Hoilett; Di Santo (Roberts, 72), McCarthy

Subs: Brown, Diouf, Kalinic, Jones

    Data provided by Press Association