08 January 2022

Leam Richardson hails Wigan’s FA Cup win in Blackburn game that ‘had everything’

08 January 2022

Wigan boss Leam Richardson hailed his side for edging a game that “had everything” as Championship high-flyers Blackburn were dumped out of the FA Cup in a five-goal thriller at the DW Stadium.

Reda Khadra’s goal at the start of the second period had put Rovers ahead, only for Max Power to equalise just after the hour mark.

A Jack Whatmough header, which was caught and then carried over his own goalline by Rovers goalkeeper Aynsley Pears, nosed Wigan in front with 16 minutes to go.

But Daniel Ayala’s equaliser two minutes from time appeared to set up an extra 30 minutes.

Wigan substitute Thelo Aasgaard had other ideas, though, with his long-range rocket from way out on the left wing deceiving Pears and sending the home side through to round four.

“It was a very hard-fought game, which we knew it would be, a local derby in the FA Cup,” said Richardson.

“It had everything – excitement, goals, mistakes, tackles, headers, yellow cards.

“But all credit has to go to the players for getting the job done yet again.

“We tried to not only contain their threats, but also impose ourselves on the game at the other end.

“In the first half I didn’t feel we were that great with the ball.

“In the second half it was a lot more even and we saw a good contest.

“They’re set up to play on the counter attack and prey on mistakes, which they can do because they have some fantastic football players.

“We just gave them too much ball in the first half and I kind of have to take that on the chin myself, because of the system I dropped on them.

“But fair credit to them for taking in the information, keep on working hard and digging deep to get the win.”

The selection of back-up goalkeeper Pears was understandably a topic of focus in Tony Mowbray’s post-match press conference.

“Aynsley has played two-and-a-half league games this season and kept clean sheets in those minutes on the pitch,” said the Rovers manager.

“Because of Covid I felt it was important to give the number two goalie to play.

“You never know when Thomas (Kaminski) might catch Covid.

“It was an important position to change but ultimately it didn’t pan out well for us. You can’t legislate for those mistakes

“We have to take it on the chin and move on very quickly.

“I am not sure Wigan knew how to get through us. We looked really solid and I don’t remember them threatening our goal.

“Then we scored and I felt, if we continued in the same mode we would go on and win the game – but it wasn’t to be.”

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