Shaun Maloney picked up a point in his first game in charge of Wigan, as they held Blackburn to a goalless draw at Ewood Park.
The Latics missed the chance to climb off the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship, but it was a positive enough start for Maloney – the former Latics player who became their third permanent manager of the season last week after Kolo Toure was sacked.
They are three points off safety in 24th, while Blackburn remained outside the top six on goal difference in another frustrating evening for Jon Dahl Tomasson and his side.
Goalless at Ewood Park
It could and should have been the worst possible start for Maloney, as Blackburn found a way in behind his side’s defence inside four minutes. Bradley Dack played the ball into the run of Brereton Diaz, who raced through on goal but then shot straight at Ben Amos with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Sorba Thomas was among the loanee debutants on show, and he caused plenty of problems down the right for Blackburn, with a couple of his crosses causing real problems to the Wigan defence, only for Martin Kelly to show his nous by averting the danger away from the likes of Bradley Dack and Sam Gallagher.
And there wouldn’t be a breakthrough for either side in the end, on a night of poor quality in the final third for both teams in this Lancashire derby. While there was also a blow for Kelly, who was forced off with what looked a bad injury after what had been an impressive performance on his Wigan debut.
Blackburn’s Jon Dahl Tomasson:
“We knew it was going to be a tough game. Wigan are fighting for their lives and have a new manager. Despite that I’m disappointed we didn’t win the game with the opportunities we created.
“Out of possession we were solid and gave very few things away. I’m happy with the clean sheet, but we need to be more clinical with the opportunities we have.”
Wigan’s Shaun Maloney:
“It’s a good start. We had to defend a lot in the second half. The mentality of the group was really good. I’m pleased.
“The first half I was really pleased with the progression we had. That was positive at times. Second half we had to defend. Sometimes games are like that. I’d love us to play more, but I’m happy with how we defended. I’m happy for the group and for the travelling support.”
Player of the Match – Martin Kelly
Both are back in Sky Bet Championship action at 3pm on Saturday. Blackburn head to Watford, Wigan, host Huddersfield.