Wigan Athletic lucky to escape with a point - Mowbray

Tony Mowbray admitted the 2-2 draw against Wigan Athletic felt like a defeat for his Blackburn Rovers side.

Sunday, 4th March 2018, 2:24 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th March 2018, 4:20 pm
Michael Jacobs and Will Grigg
Michael Jacobs and Will Grigg

Rovers were two goals up inside 17 minutes thanks to goals from Adam Armstrong and Elliott Bennett.

But Latics fought back well in the second half, and managed to secure a share of the spoils which keeps them only six points behind Rovers, with FOUR games in hand.

First, on 63 minutes, Michael Jacobs’ shot appeared to take a touch off Grigg to deceive goalkeeper David Raya.

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Then, 17 minutes from time, a Power free-kick from the left wing somehow made its way in at the far post without anyone getting a touch.

All of which left Mowbray and his men with a feeling of what might have been.

“I thought we started the second half really well, but it was the nature of the goals that disappointed me,” he said.

“They were really poor ones to give away.

“Our goals were brilliant – that’s how we play – and theirs were scrappy and soft, poor defensively really.

“They were avoidable – we weren’t cut open or they didn’t come from great play from Wigan.

“No-one touched it for their second goal. Somebody has to get some contact on it, but they didn’t and we drew 2-2.

“It feels like a defeat. But we’ve got 10 games left, so it’s all to play for isn’t it?

“Shrewsbury are in that mix as well and they will be happy with this result.

“We have to take the positives and say how, at times, positive and high-quality our play was in the first half.

“Those are the levels we can reach and whoever we’re playing against and we have to reproduce that sort of level.

“We have at times this season but it’s hard to keep doing it week-in, week-out when you’re playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday.

“But that’s the test for Wigan coming towards the end of the season.”

Mowbray was also unhappy with the performance of referee Geoff Eltringham, who angered both sets of players throughout the 90 minutes with his inconsistent officiating.

“I think the referee had a game-plan, but he didn’t referee the game as far as I could see,” added the Rovers boss.

“He didn’t blow his whistle for the first 20 minutes.

“People were kicking lumps out of each other, there were fouls everywhere, and he was just: ‘Play on’.

“I can’t understand that. I understand the logic of it, not suffocating the game early on by blowing his whistle, because it was going to be intense game.

“But he left everything go for 20 minutes, and then the booking of Ryan Nyambe at the end was shocking.

“The referee was 40 yards behind it - I think he wanted a breather, because he had to sprint to catch up with the play.

“Anyway this is not a ‘bash the referee day’. I didn’t think he was for us or against us.

“But I just think his game-plan went wrong for him.

“I think his plan was to let the game flow early on, and then tighten it up, but he let too much go early on.

“He had to get a grip early on I think, but never mind, it’s footy.

“Let’s move on - we’ve got 10 big games left to play, they’ve got 14...and let’s see who comes out on top.”