McCarthy's superb individual effort made it 3-1 to Wigan
By Michael Da Silva
James McCarthy struck twice as Wigan moved out of the relegation zone with a thrilling win over Blackburn.
Jason Roberts put the visitors ahead, but McCarthy tapped in a leveller and Hugo Rodallega put the hosts ahead.
A brilliant solo effort from McCarthy made it 3-1 before Chris Samba struck to put Blackburn back in the match.
Ben Watson restored the Latics' two-goal lead with a penalty, which proved crucial as David Dunn's spot-kick for Rovers set up a frenetic finale.
Blackburn dominated the early stages of this compelling clash and could have been two goals ahead within the opening 15 minutes, with Al-Habsi forced into saves from Benjani then Pedersen, as Wigan struggled to handle Rovers' attacking threat.
Al-Habsi's opposite number, Paul Robinson, was also called into action, saving low to his left in the 21st minute after Ben Watson's free-kick evaded a crowd of bodies.
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But it was Blackburn who took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute when the impressive David Hoilett picked out Emerton on the right, whose steaming run down the wing allowed him the time to cut his cross back to Roberts, who got in front of his marker to tap in at the near post.
Blackburn could, and should, have doubled their lead barely a minute later but Benjani failed to make a decent connection with his header, after Pederson picked him out with a free-kick from the left.
Wigan survived a handball shout when the ball appeared to strike the arm of Steve Gohouri following Benjani's miss, with the Latics managing to escape a sustained period of Blackburn pressure without further damage.
Infact, Wigan reacted defiantly to going behind and it was no surprise that Charles N'Zogbia was central to the home side's equaliser, as the Frenchman created space for Emerson Boyce to shoot after a surging run from the right.
Boyce's powerful low drive from 15 yards was saved well by Robinson, but McCarthy was first to react to the rebound, adjusting his body well to steer home from close range.
Rovers started the second half brightly, but were punished for some shoddy defending when Samba and the onrushing Robinson were unable to combine to clear a long ball to safety.
Rodallega nipped in to take advantage of their hesitation, sweeping the ball into the empty net with his left foot, giving Wigan a 2-1 lead and, with 20 goals, becoming Wigan's record goalscorer in the Premier League.
With Blackburn on the ropes, McCarthy doubled his tally for the afternoon with a sublime piece of skill and finish.
N'Zogbia rolled the ball into McCarthy who flicked the ball over Jermaine Jones with his right foot before volleying in with his left from 8 yards.
But just as Wigan were looking comfortable, they gave Blackburn hope of a comeback, allowing Samba to meet Pederson's corner and power in a header at the near post, making it 3-2.
With the game becoming increasingly stretched, Steve Kean, who had gambled by leaving top scorer Mame Diouf on the bench, introduced the on-loan striker on the hour.
But as Blackburn eyed an equaliser with Diouf now leading the line, Rovers fell further behind.
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Watson restored Wigan's two-goal advantage from the penalty spot after Diame was clumsily tripped by Salgado in the box.
Rovers remained committed to their attacking game and, in the 75th minute, Diouf missed a golden opportunity to make it 4-3 when he dragged his shot wide from 15 yards.
With the rain failing to relent and the pitch continuing to deteriorate, Blackburn narrowed Wigan's lead in the 81st minute.
David Dunn, another second half substitute, made it 4-3 with the second penalty of the afternoon, sending Al-Habsi the wrong way after an ill-advised challenge by Boyce has sent Dunn tumbling just inside the box.
Blackburn pumped long balls towards Diouf as they became increasingly desperate to salvage a point, but Wigan held on for a win that may prove crucial in their quest for Premier League survival.
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