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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Blackburn 1-1 Wigan
Jason Roberts
Roberts gave Wigan the lead with his first goal since January
Substitute Shefki Kuqi rescued a point for Blackburn against local rivals Wigan with a controversial late strike.

Jason Roberts looked to have earned Wigan victory when he beat Brad Friedel with a clever backheeled volley.

But Blackburn drew level on 84 minutes when Kuqi stroked home - only after Lucas Neill's challenge had forced keeper John Filan to fumble the ball.

In a furious finish, Filan produced a superb save from Craig Bellamy but the hosts had to settle for a point.

Victory would have put Blackburn fifth in the Premiership, level on points with fourth-placed Tottenha and with Robbie Savage back in midfield after suspension, Mark Hughes' side began well.

Steven Reid looked poised to give them the lead after just two minutes but Graham Kavanagh got his foot to Paul Dickov's cross to prevent the Rovers midfielder heading home.

But as Wigan gradually imposed themselves on the game, the chances dried up until the half-time whistle approached.

The home side had the ball in the net when Filan dropped David Bentley's cross under pressure from Dickov and Morten Gamst Pedersen tapped into the empty net.

It looked a harsh decision when referee Phil Dowd disallowed the goal, but Wigan were to feel even more hard done by moments later.

Arjan de Zeeuw beat Ryan Nelson to the ball and lashed it home but the linesman flagged immediately - apparently for handball.

But if Wigan went in at half-time disappointed, they quickly put it behind them after the break.

Friedel made a fabulous point-blank save from Lee McCulloch, but from the ensuing corner, Wigan took the lead.

With his back to goal, Roberts scored his first goal since January, cleverly flicking Pascal Chimbonda's header over Friedel.

The goal brought the game, and the crowd, to life.

Roberts was suddenly the centre of attention, picking up a booking for elbowing Neill and then latching onto Jimmy Bullard's free-kick only to take too long to shoot.

But as Wigan began to sense victory, Blackburn struck.

Filan, and his Wigan team-mates, felt Neill's barge constituted a foul but this time, there was no intervention from the officials and Kuqi's goal stood.

It could have been worse for Wigan had Filan not kept out Bellamy's fine effort late on.

But Blackburn had to settle for a point which keeps them in touch with the race for fourth in the Premiership.


  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes on the equaliser:
    "I felt the ball was there to be won. The keeper certainly didn't have it under control.

    "Obviously, we dominated the second half and I must say we're frustrated because we felt we did enough to win."

  • Wigan manager Paul Jewell:
    "I'm frustrated and angry and I'll get into trouble for this but the officials have cost us the game.

    "Just before the goal there is a clear foul on our keeper John Filan. There's no two ways about it, he's been barged.

    "It feels like a bad point now because we've been robbed. Any more decisions like that and we won't win again."


    Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Khizanishvili, Nelsen, Gray, Bentley (Tugay 59), Savage, Reid, Pedersen, Bellamy, Dickov (Kuqi 59).
    Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Mokoena, Sinama Pongolle.

    Goals: Kuqi 84.

    Wigan: Filan, Chimbonda, Scharner (Jackson 45), De Zeeuw, Baines, Teale, Bullard, Kavanagh, McCulloch, Roberts, Johansson.
    Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Connolly, Ziegler, Thompson.

    Booked: Scharner, Roberts.

    Goals: Roberts 53.

    Att: 20,410

    Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).


  • WATCH AND LISTEN
    Interview: Paul Jewell


    Interview: Mark Hughes



    SEE ALSO
    Jewell angry at 'incompetent' ref
    04 Apr 06 |  Wigan Athletic
    Monday's football photos
    03 Apr 06 |  Photo Galleries


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