Rovers keep on fighting as owners make an early exit
Wigan 3 Blackburn 3
The DW Stadium
Monday 21 November 2011
It says much for the lunacy that has engulfed Blackburn over the last 12 months that the outrageous Leeds tales of chairman Peter Ridsdale's goldfish and Seth Johnson wages negotiations would not be out of place at Rovers.
But even so, there is no record of Leeds' ever-changing owners leaving a game at half-time, as Venky's did at the weekend, while the Yorkshire club was plummeting from the Champions League to League One.
Also, even in those crazy days at Elland Road, Leeds were never given a goal as preposterous as Junior Hoilett's effort, which came after referee Andre Marriner failed to spot Morten Gamst Pedersen taking a corner to himself.
Reports suggesting that Venky's have the option to take out loans secured against future Premier League television money are reminiscent of Leeds' gamble of budgeting for regular Champions League participation.
The Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who ventured forward to win the penalty that Ayegbeni Yakubu converted in the eighth minute of stoppage time to earn a draw for his 10-man, started his career at Leeds and was part of the team that was relegated in 2004.
The former England international had taken a boot to the face in his pursuit of that equaliser, leaving him with a gash on his forehead and a huge lump on his face. So it was not easy to disagree with his insistence that this Blackburn squad has a totally different attitude to the atmosphere of gloom that marked his final days at Leeds.
He said: "It was very difficult then [at Leeds] because of everything, but when I look at our dressing room I see we've got a good spirit here.
"We've got a very, very good spirit and we've proved that with the way we kept battling. That's what we're going to need to get out of this. We're enjoying playing football and we're playing reasonably well.
"There's certain times when we haven't played well but the fans have been excellent between 3pm and 5pm," Robinson added. "They are the backbone of the club, they pay their money to watch us and they have an opinion – but the support for us, we can't fault that."
The Venky's contingent, who turned up with a bodyguard who wore Aviator sunglasses and had facial hair that you suspected had little to do with "Movember", were widely ridiculed for leaving early. It is thought that they flew back to London, but they were due to return north to meet Rovers' under-fire manager Steve Kean to discuss their January transfer budget in Manchester last night.
Kean said: "We've got a man sent off, we're in the wars, down to the bare bones and they just won't stop – they just keep coming and keep playing. They're playing for each other and if you want to say they're playing for me that's great, but they're playing for each other."
An incredible game got off to a flying start when Yakubu scored with just over a minute gone but Jordi Gomez equalised and Gary Caldwell headed a second for the hosts on 31 minutes.
Venky's had gone by the time David Dunn was sent off at the start of the second half but Hoilett levelled after Pedersen took a corner to himself and ran in-field to cross, with Marriner assuming that Yakubu had taken the set-piece before running into the area.
Albert Crusat fired a shot under Robinson's body with two minutes left only for the keeper to venture forward and receive a boot in the face from David Jones as he attempted to head the ball towards goal.
Yakubu made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick but it was Hoilett's 59th minute leveller that preoccupied Wigan manager Roberto Martinez. "To imagine that a player has touched the ball when you have your back to the ball, that's a technical error and that's hurtful," he said.
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