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Wigan 3 Rovers 0

21 November 2017

Rovers were beaten for the first time in six games with defeat at high-flying Wigan Athletic.

Ryan Colclough’s double either side of the interval and a Michael Jacobs effort sealed all three points for the home side.

Rovers were unchanged from Saturday’s goalless draw at Fleetwood, which meant a 500th EFL appearance for Andy Butler.

The home side started confidently, as befitted their league position, with Ian Lawlor having to be alert to palm away a Jacobs shot at his near post inside the opening minute. Four minutes later, Butler put in a vital clearance after the same Latics man cut in from the left while Mathieu Baudry flicked away a Will Grigg cross.

Rovers saw out the opening period without Lawlor being forced into another save, and started to make more of an impact going forward themselves.

The first shooting opportunity came after 14 minutes when Matty Blair was afforded acres of space down the right, he played the ball in to James Coppinger who stung the palms of Jamie Jones at his near post.

Tommy Rowe was next to go close for Rovers. The ball was played back into the area after the home side only half cleared a Coppinger corner, it was looking for Butler and Baudry but fell nicely for Rowe whose powerful low shot flashed just wide of the fat post.

The home side were still difficult to keep quiet, with Butler blocking a shot from Max Power after 22 minutes. Lawlor was forced into his second save of the game after 28 minutes, but it was a routine stop as Lee Evans’ whipped effort was straight at him.

Rovers were handed an opportunity just after the half-hour mark when Rowe was brought down by Nathan Byrne, when the midfielder threatened to break through on goal. The free-kick was taken by John Marquis, and the No.9 hit it well enough but it went over the crossbar without really causing much concern for Jamie Jones in the home goal.

The keenly contested nature of the game saw Jordan Houghton and Joe Wright booked for late tackles.

Jacobs should have put the home side ahead after 38 minutes when he raced onto a James cross, but is powerful effort went just over.

He made amends a couple of minutes later with a smart low finish into the bottom far corner.

Rovers almost drew level instantly, with a chipped Coppinger cross from the right falling nicely for Marquis - but the Rovers man could not connect properly with his shot.

And the Latics made Rovers pay before the break, with Colclough cutting inside from the left and getting a shot away - it took a deflection to beat Lawlor, but ensured they held a two-goal advantage at half-time.

Ferguson made a change at the break to try and get back into the game, bringing Andy Williams off the bench at the expense of Baudry.

Rovers came out looking for a goal which would get them back in the game, with Rodney Kongolo and Jordan Houghton having efforts blocked.

Kongolo also fired over after a free-kick was only partially cleared, but Rovers were hit by a sucker punch just before the hour mark when Colclough headed home a cross from the right for his second goal of the game.

Ferguson made his final two changes quickly after the goal, bringing on Alfie Beestin for Coppinger than Ben Whiteman for Williams - who looked to have an injury.

Rovers continued to push, with Marquis shooting wide at the near post and Rowe having an effort deflected up safely into the hands of Jones. It also took a last-ditch challenge to prevent Beestin getting a shot away after being played through on goal after 79 minutes.

Besting almost got away a couple of other times before the final whistle, but Rovers had to accept defeat.

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