English Premiership

Benni off the mark

2009-12-26 20:13
Benni McCarthy (File)

Wigan - Benni McCarthy's first Premier League goal of the season was cancelled out by Hugo Rodallega's header as Blackburn were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Wigan on Saturday.

It was a result that did little to lift the spirits of either side with Wigan having now won just one of their last eight league matches and Blackburn on one win in seven.

McCarthy's opener for Blackburn should have come after five minutes, when Junior Hoilett found him with a diagonal ball into the penalty box.

It was not clear if the South Africa striker was trying to shoot or cross but his effort finished wide of the far post after taking a deflection off Titus Bramble.

Five minutes later Blackburn defender Chris Samba's header from Bramble's hopeful punt beat his own goalkeeper Paul Robinson but the England international managed to scramble back and claw the ball off the goalline.

Blackburn went ahead after half an hour following a foul by Rodallega on former Spain defender Michel Salgado.

Keith Andrews punted the resulting free-kick into the box and, after Ryan Nelsen had headed across the area, McCarthy was on hand to finish from close range.

Paul Scharner could have equalised almost immediately but knocked Charles N'Zogbia's inviting cross from the right wide of the target and only a superb save from Robinson prevented Jason Scotland from levelling things up in first-half stoppage time.

Steven N'Zonzi might have doubled Blackburn's lead after a cute back-heel from McCarthy soon after the restart, but shot wide from 12 yards.

And Wigan made Blackburn pay for that miss when Rodallega met N'Zogbia's cross with a textbook header past Robinson, eight minutes into the second period.

Colombia striker Rodallega could have sealed all three points for the home side when he headed Maynor Figueroa's cross straight at Robinson.

But Blackburn also had their chances to claim victory with only a fine stop from Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland preventing McCarthy from scoring a second with an overhead kick seven minutes from the end.

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