Wigan 3 Blackburn 3: Yakubu spot on as Rovers steal dramatic draw at the death


If somebody had scripted this as a slapstick farce for the big screen then it would have been rejected as totally and utterly outlandish.

The sixth and final goal was scored in the 98th minute via a penalty earned by the visiting goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who was kicked in the head while seeking an equaliser in the opponents’ area.

The conversion by Yakubu meant a point was salvaged by Blackburn, a team who had spent the previous 50 minutes with 10 men after David Dunn’s dismissal, but had looked in the driving seat after going ahead in little more than a minute. Yakubu got that one too.

Relief: Grant Hanley congratulates Yakubu after scoring his late penalty

Relief: Grant Hanley congratulates Yakubu after scoring his late penalty

MATCH FACTS

Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Caldwell, Stam (McArthur 90), Figueroa, McCarthy, Moses, Gomez (Crusat 68), Jones, Diame, Sammon (Rodallega 68).
Yellow card: Stam, Gomez

Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado (Henley 46),  Givet (Roberts 90), Dann, Hanley, Dunn, Pedersen, Nzonzi, Rochina Hoilett, Yakubu.
Red card: Dunn
Yellow card: Nzonzi, Rochina

Ref: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 17,392

Wigan came from 1-0 down to lead 2-1, thanks to a goal from Jordi Gomez and a header from Gary Caldwell, only to be pulled back to parity by a goal that replays showed should never have happened.

Junior Hoilett’s close-range strike was illegal because it came via a corner that Morten Gamst Pedersen played to himself, not a team-mate, before feeding a set-up ball to Hoilett.

Referee Andre Mariner had his back to the incident and did not spot that Yakubu had placed the ball for the corner but then did not actually touch it.

And the Wigan players did not complain, according to their manager Roberto Martinez, because, ‘I’m always telling my players not to show dissent, this was my fault that they didn’t complain and it cost us’.

And all of this was played out against a backdrop of the latest raucous protests by Blackburn fans against their manager Steve Kean and the club’s owners Venky’s.

The Indians were represented at the match by a party of 15 who had flown in to London yesterday morning, then flown north to Blackpool airport by chartered jet and been chauffeured in convoy to the DW Stadium.

Spot on: Yakubu equalises from the penalty spot in stoppage time

Spot on: Yakubu equalises from the penalty spot in stoppage time

 

But the co-owner Rao brothers, Venkatesh and Balaji, then left at half-time when their team were trailing 2-1. They missed noisy chants against themselves and Kean, three goals and the bagging of an unlikely point.

The upshot is that both of these strugglers are still in the bottom two this morning, both with reason to think they might have had more from the day, but both with positives to take. ‘Extraordinary’ does not really do justice to the day.

Kean said: ‘It was good to get a point because we’ve had a lot of things going against us late in other games this season and I thought we deserved something. Playing with 10 men for so long is tough, but Yakubu was magnificent — you could see the effort all the players made — and we kept on going.’

Foul: This challenge by David Jones on Paul Robinson won Blackburn a late penalty

Foul: This challenge by David Jones on Paul Robinson won Blackburn a late penalty

Blackburn opened the scoring after 68 seconds when Steve Nzoni’s headed flick-on was picked up by Yakubu, who evaded the flat-footed defensive work of Caldwell and Steve Gohouri and lobbed Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Before seven minutes were on the clock, David Jones’ cross-shot was met with an attempted headed clearance by Blackburn’s Grant Hanley, but it fell to Gomez on the edge of the box and he slammed it home with a left-foot drive.

Delight: Gary Caldwell celebrates after scoring for Wigan

Delight: Gary Caldwell celebrates after scoring for Wigan

 

On half an hour, Caldwell headed in from a corner by Jones, who had plenty of tricks in his locker. Victor Moses, twice, and Gomez, also nearly extended the Wigan lead before the break.

The Rao’s left before Dunn got his marching orders in the 48th minute for a second yellow. The bizarre equaliser came 10 minutes later and then home substitute Albert Crusat made it 3-2 in the 88th minute.

With more than six minutes of added time played, goalkeeper Robinson came upfield and was kicked by Jones. There was a two-minute delay as Robinson was treated, before Yakubu converted the penalty for the equaliser.

Interested observers: Blackburn Rovers owners Balaji Rao and Venkatesh Rao, directors of Venky's, watch the action

Interested observers: Blackburn Rovers owners Balaji Rao and Venkatesh Rao, directors of Venky's, watch the action


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