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North-West derby winners Lactics leap up the Championship table

Blackburn Rovers slip out of the Play Off positions as Wigan Athletic earn their first home win of the season, thanks to a single goal from Everton loanee Nathan Broadhead at the DW stadium.

The home side came into this North West derby on the back two losses, finding themselves in 12th position in the Championship. They’d won four, drawn four and lost four. But they were the side who started the brighter, with the greater share of the attacks and attempts on goal. The first promising chance was on 17 minutes when Nathan Broadhead skipped past Rovers defender Scott Wharton a bit too easily on the right hand side, drove into space in the box and forced a very good save from Blackburn stopper Thomas Kaminski with a lovely shot.

Minutes later, Wigan’s Tom Naylor tried his luck from the edge of the box as he found himself with a good opportunity for a shot, which went narrowly wide.

Blackburn made the trip down the M6 to the DW Stadium on the back of an inconsistent run of form that saw them with a 54% win rate this season. 

Rovers looked every bit like the side who had failed to beat The Lactics at all in the past seven years. Their only real chance of the half came on the 28th minute when Ben Brereton-Diaz collected the ball and managed to get it in the danger zone. The target was Sammie Szmodics, however the Irishman was beaten to it by Lactics defender Curtis Tilt.

Perhaps the best opportunity went to Will Keane on 35 minutes, where a solo effort, winning the ball and driving forward, but only managed to test Kaminski once again.

Blackburn boss Leam Richardson made two changes at half time, taking off Sammie Szmodicas and Ryan Hedges off, and replaced them with Callum Britain and Tyrhys Dolan.

Then on 52 minutes, Richardson called on Sam Gallagher to inject some threat into Rovers’ game. George Hirst was the player replaced.

The three Blackburn subs made an instant impact when Harry Pickering sent  Brererton-Diaz away down the wing who pulled the Wigan defence to bits with a splitting ball from the left that was inches away from the advancing substitute Dolan. The Blackburn attack sprung the game into life, and there was a period of end to end attacks from both sides which the fans appreciated and raised the noise inside the stadium. 

The Blackburn pressure was short-lived however, when they were caught out in possession in their own box. Tyler Morton held on to the ball far too long for Will Keane’s liking, who dispossessed him and took a shot, which came back off Rover’s keeper’s hand, where Nathan Broadhead was waiting to tap in to open the scoring for The Lactics.

The Wigan faithful took the opportunity to remind the Blackburn travelling fans of the Lactics poor home form by sarcastically singing, “We’re winning at home”.

Wigan made their first change on 67 minutes when boss-man Jon Dahl Tomasson introduced Norwegian Thelo Aasgaard who came on for the goal scorer Broadhead. And what an introduction he could’ve made when he met a cross from Tendayi Darikwa with his head but could only nod over the bar. 

Rovers worked themselves an incredible chance on 71 minutes, when the player they’d want the ball to fall to – Brererton Diaz – found himself unmarked 6 yards out, but could only fire over and into the crowd.

A couple of old school, northern-grit, derby day challenges came sliding in, one which lead to a free kick for Rovers. However, the resulting swinging ball in caused nothing more than a slight goal mouth scramble on 79 minutes.

Wigan made a double change on 81 minutes that saw Charlie Wyke and the impressive Will Keane replaced by Josh Magennis and Ashley Fletcher.

Blackburn had little choice but to gamble. They responded by introducing striker Bradley Dack as they went in search of rescuing a point.

Rovers kept the pressure on with their more attacking formation, but failed to cause Wigan any real problems and recorded zero shots on target. They did have a penalty shout on the 86th minute. Brereton-Diaz was booked for dissent after he voiced his opinion to the referee for the lack of action. 

Wigan defender Jack Whatmough was impressive, keeping Blackburns attacks at bay. Even after the changes and the heightened threat from Rovers, the former Portsmouth man kept cool and made some crucial interceptions.

James McClean was replaced on the 93rd minute by Joe Bennett in the fourth change of the night for Wigan Athletic, as the Lactics saw the game out and moved up to 9th with a game in hand over Blackburn.

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