REPORT: WIGAN ATHLETIC 0 BLACKPOOL 2
Latics’ play-off fate will now go down to the final two games of the campaign after a disappointing afternoon saw Blackpool come away from the DW Stadium with all three points on Saturday afternoon.
Second-half goals from Andy Keogh and Stephen Dobbie earned the Seasiders the win and kept their own survival bid alive as the Sky Bet Championship campaign enters its final week.
Martyn Waghorn saw a first-half penalty saved by Matt Gilks as Uwe Rosler’s side failed to make their early dominance count.
Rosler made four changes to the side that lost at Burnley on Easter Monday, opting to field the same side that defeated Reading 3-0 in Latics’ previous home fixture.
Waghorn, Callum McManaman, Shaun Maloney and Roger Espinoza all returned whilst the visitors were unchanged from their 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Latics had the first effort of the game as Maloney’s deep cross from the left was met by James Perch at the back post but his header was straight at Matt Gilks.
The hosts found it difficult to break down a stubborn Blackpool backline with Jordi Gomez firing wide from a similar angle to the one he scored from against Reading eight days earlier.
Latics were presented with a fortuitous opportunity to take the lead as Maloney seemingly tripped over the ball before referee Andy D’Urso pointed to the spot; however Waghorn saw his spot-kick well saved by Gilks high to his left.
Rosler’s side continued to dominate as the half wore on with James McArthur fizzing a pass out to the right to McManaman who fired narrowly wide after beating Andy Halliday.
Waghorn’s luck was against him again on the half hour as Espinoza volleyed across goal for the former Sunderland man but he couldn’t adjust his feet to prod home from six yards.
The Seasiders’ best chance of the first-half came in the final minute as Chris Basham broke down the right and cut back for the onrushing Neal Bishop who couldn’t quite hook the ball inside the far post.
Nick Powell was introduced in place of Waghorn at half-time, though it was McManaman who was first to go close as he cut in from the right and saw his left-footed shot cleared by Tony McMahon.
The Manchester United loanee was, however, presented with a great chance to open the scoring seven minutes into the second-half as he met Gomez’s free-kick unmarked at the back post before shooting wide.
Blackpool took the lead as the game met the hour with Keogh heading into Al Habsi’s far right-hand corner from Isaiah Osbourne’s cross.
Maloney proved a handful on the left-hand side, winning multiple free-kicks before curling one over from 20 yards.
Keogh turned provider for the visitors’ second as he pulled back from the by-line for Dobbie who crashed home from the centre of the area.
Latics pushed for an equaliser with Perch and Gomez both seeing their shots bravely blocked before Powell fired the rebound over from the edge of the area as the game entered the final 15 minutes.
Substitute Ricardo Fuller nearly added a late third for Blackpool as Latics piled bodies forward but Leon Barnett got across well to block the Jamaican’s effort.
James McClean volleyed over from Jean Beausejour’s cross deep into injury-time but the effort summed a frustrating afternoon for the hosts.