Marvin’s marvel lifts Mowbray
AMOMENT of class from the mercurial Marvin Emnes lit up a nervy Championship relegation scrap at Ewood Park.
The Dutchman – currently on loan from Swansea City – controlled brilliantly, left defender Callum Connolly for dead, and then smashed home his first Rovers goal since September to fire his club out of the drop zone.
For Rovers head coach Tony Mowbray it was a third game without defeat since replacing Owen Coyle, and a second straight 1-0 home victory.
He said: “The determination, drive and resilience got the players through that and I’m delighted for them.
“If I’m honest I didn’t feel overly threatened in this game, but that desire to get us over the line is something that really stood out.
“It’s been a tough few weeks for the players. I thought they looked a little jaded in the first half, but the substitutions in the second half helped.
“It’s been a great start to my time here, but there’s still a long way to go.”
Mowbray saluted Emnes and his wonder strike, but also demanded more from the 28year-old loanee.
“I am delighted for Marvin,” added Mowbray. “But he does need to add more goals to his game.
“Players like him need to be getting at least ten goals a season. That was his fourth, so he does need to improve on that.”
Wigan boss Warren Joyce was watching from the stands – com- plete with a dressing on his eye after minor surgery during the week – as both sides huffed and puffed during a generally frustrating first period.
There were few chances of a breakthrough, though Rovers’ Liam Feeney saw a crisp strike well saved by Matt Gilks in the opening minute.
At the other end Michael Jacobs went on a run before firing wide, while Omar Bogle ought to have done better when he fired meekly at Jason Steele.
Rovers did enjoy the better of the second period, and created a number of chances added to the one Emnes expertly dispatched in the 58th minute.
Sub Connor Mahoney curled an effort past the far post, while Elliott Bennett almost punished an error from Wigan defender Jake Buxton.
Danny Graham came close to grabbing a second Rovers goal, while Wigan’s miserable afternoon was perfectly summed up when Jamie Hanson lashed horribly wide from 12 yards in stoppage time.
Wigan are now four points adrift of fourth-bottom Wolves – and games are running out. They only have 11 left to play.
Graham Barrow – Wigan’s stand-in manager due to Joyce’s absence – said: “Of course the over-riding feeling is one of disappointment, this was a massive game.
“In the end we’ve just been beaten by that bit of quality from Emnes. We didn’t show enough of that type of quality until we’d gone behind.
“It’s down to bravery and commitment from the players now. We didn’t show enough of that in the first half, but we know it’s there.
“There’s still all to play for. We’ve got to get something from the next few games, and we can do that.”
Barrow confirmed that Joyce had been heavily involved in the build-up to the game and was responsible for the substitutions.
CLASSY: Blackburn Rovers’ Marvin Emnes scores their first goal and celebrates