Roberts helps Rovers to win over Wigan

Roberts had missed a sitter against the champions but kept his

nerve to supply a superb first-time finish to Brett Emerton’s cross

and wrap up victory. Morten Gamst Pedersen had put Rovers in front

eight minutes earlier when his free-kick from the byline eluded

everyone in the box and curled into the top corner. And despite

Charles N’Zogbia reducing the deficit for Wigan with a 74th-minute

free-kick, the visitors failed to muster another chance to snatch a

vital point. Last week’s stirring but ultimately fruitless

performance against Chelsea seemed a distant memory in a tepid

first period which quickly seemed destined to finish goalless. The

home side’s early chances came from Christopher Samba at

set-pieces, while Wigan spurned the few chances they had, slamming

two free-kicks into the Rovers wall. N’Zogbia showed a flash of

skill to burst into he box where he was dispossessed by Gael Givet,

while at the other end Ali Al Habsi flapped at a Pedersen

free-kick. Mame Biram Diouf had the best early chance when he was

played clear by Pedersen, only for the Wigan goalkeeper to burst

from his goal and dive bravely at the striker’s feet. The more

entertaining action came on the touchline where former Wigan

defender Pascal Chimbonda was relishing the taunts of the visiting

fans at the Darwen End. Wigan had their first real shot on target

in the 31st minute when Rodallega burst through on the left and hit

a left-foot shot which Paul Robinson saved well. And as the

visitors ended the half strongly, Rovers had a lucky escape in the

38th minute when N’Zogbia barged through to put the ball in the

net, only to be pulled up for a foul on Pedersen. The visitors

continued in the ascendancy at the start of the second period with

N’Zogbia serving up fine crosses which Hugo Rodallega and Steve

Gohouri failed to convert. But Al Habsi had to perform heroics to

keep his side level in the 49th minute when Pedersen met Brett

Emerton’s deep cross from the right and the goalkeeper made a

superb reaction save. Rovers grabbed the lead in the 58th minute

when Pedersen’s free-kick from out on the right touchline evaded

everyone and curled into the top corner past a helpless Al Habsi.

The visitors had a half-hearted penalty appeal turned down when

Rodallega tripped over Givet, but Rovers went further ahead in the

66th minute when Emerton crossed from the right and Roberts beat

the offside trip to slide home. Wigan still looked lively and

reduced their deficit when N’Zogbia drilled a low free-kick in off

Robinson’s left-hand post in the 74th minute. Rodallega’s effort

from an N’Zogbia cross was blocked in the box but Wigan failed to

muster any further chances and gave the home side a comfortable

last quarter of an hour. Rovers should have extended their winning

margin deep into injury time when Chimbonda crossed to David Dunn,

but he contrived to slice wide the simplest of chances.