Blackburn relegated as Wigan win Premier League survival

May 8, 2012

Wigan just about deserved the goal that ensured survival after an uneventful 87 minutes

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Blackburn Rovers 0 Wigan 1. Blackburn's 11-year stay in the Premier League is over after a late goal from Antolin Alcaraz condemned them to the Championship next season. Angry Blackburn fans invaded the Ewood Park pitch after the result – described by the Lancashire Telegraph as "one of the worst nights in the club's recent history" - to demand the departure of manager Steve Kean (pictured).

He remained defiant, however, saying later, "I'll be here next season", and promising to sit down with the Blackburn board "and discuss a plan on how to assemble a squad to help us bounce back straight away".

That pledge is sure to inflame still further the Blackburn faithful, who made their feelings known throughout the match with a series of chants aimed at Kean and the club's Indian owner, the poultry processor Venky's.

Other fans threw tennis balls onto the pitch emblazoned with the words 'Kean Out' while one supporter ran on to the turf at the start of the second half and hurled his season ticket in the direction of the Rovers' dugout.

But none of the protests seemed to have much of an effect on Kean who, post-match, adopted the bullishness of Monty Python's Black Knight in declaring: "We live to fight another day... we'll regroup, add some established players and if we can hold on to all our players then, like West Ham who are in the play-off final, we can bounce back."

But there was little bounce about Blackburn against Wigan in a game that was crucial to their survival in the Premier League. From the first whistle at a rainswept Ewood Park the home side lacked any bite and Wigan, while not much livelier, just about deserved the three points to ensure their survival in the top flight.

Alcaraz's header on 87 minutes was enough to give the visitors their sixth league win in eight matches and as their 3,000 travelling fans celebrated, manager Roberto Martinez said: "It's a great feeling. It doesn't seem real yet. With what this means it's incredible - a remarkable achievement."

With Blackburn joining Wolves in the Championship next season, the one remaining relegation place is between QPR and Bolton with the Trotters in the greatest peril.

They lie third from bottom on 35 points, two behind Rangers on 37 who have a greatly superior goal difference. QPR must travel to Manchester City for their last game of the season but Bolton have to win away at Stoke, a feat that only four clubs have managed in the Premier League this season.

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