Kalinic shines in Blackburn win: Match Review

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Nikola Kalinic shrugged off his Carling Cup disappointment by scoring a Lancashire derby winner to ease Blackburn's relegation worries in a 2-1 victory.

Kalinic scored twice in Rovers' semi-final second-leg showdown at Aston Villa last Thursday, only to end up on the wrong end of the 6-4 scoreline.

But after the Latics' Gary Caldwell had cancelled out a stunning strike from Morten Gamst Pedersen, Kalinic popped up 14 minutes from time with his sixth goal of the season, and first in the Premier League since his #6million summer move from Hajduk Split.

The result means Sam Allardyce's side, who has signed Turkey midfielder Yildiray Basturk from Stuttgart for the rest of the season, are now up to 11th and seven points clear of the drop zone.

As for Wigan, who had won their preceding two league matches, they are just two points off the bottom three and staring at a fight to beat the drop for the remainder of the season.

Boss Roberto Martinez made five changes to his side from Saturday's face-saving 2-2 FA Cup fourth-round draw at Notts County, although there was only one from the team that beat Wolves 2-0 in their last league outing.

It was a wholly significant one as goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic, who was poor and heroic in equal measure on his first outing in English football against County, was handed his league debut.

With regular number one Chris Kirkland out with a collarbone injury, Stojkovic's second-half showing at Meadow Lane ensured he received the nod in goal over Mike Pollitt.

But in the 20th minute, the often uncertain and hesitant-looking Stojkovic was being looked upon with disdain by his team-mates as he was at fault for the opener.

The on-loan Serbian from Sporting Lisbon opted, for whatever reason, to race 15 yards off his line and attempt to punch clear a deep free-kick from Brett Emerton in among a crowd of players.

His effort barely mustered seven yards in distance, and he was duly punished as Pedersen gratefully thumped a screaming left-foot half-volley into an unguarded net from 20 yards.

Rovers just about deserved that lead as they had been the slightly more enterprising side throughout the opening exchanges.

Perhaps unsurprisingly they came under pressure for the remainder of the half, yet although Paul Robinson was kept busy he was never called upon to make a truly top-drawer save.

There was an agile tip over to a dipping, inswinging corner from Charles N'Zogbia, and two routine stops to a free-kick and then a drive from Hugo Rodallega and Mohamed Diame respectively that were rifled straight at him.

He and Blackburn were fortunate to survive, however, in the 39th minute when Colombia striker Rodallega delivered a penetrating free-kick into heart of the area.

James McCarthy managed to get a faint touch that Paul Scharner must have thought was curling inside Robinson's left-hand post as the Austrian pulled away instead of making a necessary nod goalwards.

Instead, it was Blackburn who went closest to adding to their lead, with David Hoilett firing a shot on the turn into the side-netting and Pedersen sending a dipping 25-yard free-kick narrowly over the crossbar.

Just eight minutes after the break, though, the Latics were back on level terms courtesy of a rare strike from centre-back Caldwell, his first for the club in his second outing since his recent move from Celtic.

Captain Ryan Nelsen's block to a Rodallega drive was brave enough, but it led to a McCarthy corner that dipped into the six-yard box.

Caldwell seemed to be all over the back of former Latics right-back Pascal Chimbonda as he stooped to head home from three yards, but referee Lee Mason saw no infringement.

After Pedersen was denied his second of the night by the woodwork just five minutes later as he planted a header onto the crossbar from Emerton's deep right-wing cross, it was then a case of whatever you can do, we can do too.

Pedersen, without a name and number on his shirt as he had been forced to change his original one due to sustaining a bloody nose in an aerial collision with Mario Melchiot as he went for his earlier chance, provided the penetrating corner from the left.

Unlike Caldwell, though, Kalinic was unmarked as he dived low onto the delivery to head home from five yards in the 76th minute for what proved to the winner, and a second successive league victory.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Wigan Athletic

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