Premier League - Wigan win basement clash

Sat, 16 Apr 17:01:00 2011

Wigan escaped the relegation zone for the first time in three months with a 3-1 win against Blackpool in the Premier League at Bloomfield Road.

Match Highlights:

The hosts slipped into the bottom three for the first time in the season, and with abject form that has earned them a solitary point from the last six matches, there appears scant hope for Ian Holloway's men.

Wigan struck early through Hugo Rodallega and added a second just before the interval from the influential Charles N'Zogbia.

Mohamed Diame's deflected shot made it three midway through the second half, before DJ Campbell's late consolation for Blackpool.

Blackpool boss Holloway confounded expectations by naming goalkeeper Matt Gilks for the first time since he sustained an injury in November, having earlier suggested in his press conference that he was not yet ready for first-team action.

But having been selected, Gilks was beaten just three minutes into his comeback.

N'Zogbia was gifted the ball after a sloppy Blackpool set-piece, and stroked a pass into Rodallega's path. The striker took advantage of a slip from Craig Cathcart to run into space and place a low shot into the far corner.

Wigan looked fluent, galvanised by the early goal in a crunch relegation clash.

But Blackpool slowly came back into the contest, going closest to an equaliser after 25 minutes when Campbell poked at a Stephen Crainey cross and saw it deflect agonisingly wide of the far post.

The chance sparked a sustained spell of pressure from the hosts, who rained in corners and crosses which Wigan's defence struggled to clear.

But having ridden out that period without conceding, the Latics grew in confidence once again and assumed control.

N'Zogbia went close on a couple of occasions, having an effort blocked by Ian Evatt after scything his way into the box from the left, and lashing a volley into the side netting.

And they struck a hammer blow at the end of the half with N'Zogbia's goal. The France international capped a superb first half showing with a solo effort, running at the two centre-halves, skipping around the outside and then cutting a finish past Gilks.

Blackpool have salvaged points from behind at the interval just once all season, and showed little sign of repeating the trick.

Wigan picked up where they left off in the second half, leaving the home side chasing shadows.

Holloway threw caution to the wind with a triple substitution, deploying the attacking talent of James Beattie, Jason Puncheon and Matt Phillips.

Phillips did cause a couple of flutters in the Wigan defence - for Antolin Alcaraz in particular - but the initial impetus of the changes was nullified when the Latics added the third.

Mohamed Diame's shot from outside the area was an innocuous one, but it took a wicked deflection off Neil Eardley and spun into the corner beyond the stranded Gilks.

From that point it looked as if the game was petering out to a predictable conclusion.

Wigan withdrew N'Zogbia and Diame to ovations from the travelling away fans, while Blackpool's supporters began to leave in disappointment.

With 10 minutes to go Blackpool gave themselves half a chance when Campbell struck his 10th goal of the season. Charlie Adam's free kick bounced off the wall into Phillips's path, and his low centre was tucked away expertly by Campbell.

The men in orange threw bodies forward, hoping for an unlikely turnaround, but Wigan had enough of a cushion to hold on for the result.

And with just five games of the season remaining, the result could well be a telling one in both team's campaigns.

Mark Patterson / Eurosport

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