Rovers’ disappointing cup record under Mowbray continues with defeat at Wigan

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As Blackburn Rovers exited the FA Cup at the third round for the fifth year in a row at the hands of Wigan Athletic, Daniel Ainsworth gives his verdict on the defeat.

The FA Cup still has the magic that it has always had for me. I know some people don’t view the tournament as they once did, but on a personal note, the FA Cup matches are ones that are most definitely ingrained in my memory.

In recent years, the cup run that ended with the away trip to Liverpool in which we gained a replay lives long in the memory, as do the trips to Oxford and Newport for varying reasons.

Therefore, it is always disappointing to exit early in the competition, and this one was no different, maybe even more disappointing given the manner of the defeat.

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Rovers were the best side in the first half without even getting out of first gear, but they couldn’t find the opening goal before the break.

Tony Mowbray’s side did manage to get that key opening goal as substitute Reda Khadra fired past the Wigan ‘keeper.

From there on, I expected the side to grab another goal and put the match to bed, but that was not to be as Max Power’s bending effort beat Pears to level the scores.

WIGAN, ENGLAND – JANUARY 08: Dejected Blackburn Rovers players during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers at DW Stadium on January 8, 2022 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Dave Howarth – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Following the goal, Pears never really looked to be fully confident, which is a real shame to see given the performances he put in through late November and early December, including a Man of the Match performance against Bournemouth.

It would be worse for Pears as he fumbled a poor effort into his goal to give the visitors the lead, with Rovers seemingly heading out the cup.

However, up popped Daniel Ayala to head home to surely secure extra time for Rovers, until Thelo Aasgaard scored an excellent curling effort.

Rovers’ record in the cup competitions since Tony Mowbray joined is disappointing and perhaps concerning, but for once, the old saying of ‘at least we can focus on the league’ is true.

It would have been nice to go through and potentially have a cup run, but with promotion a serious prospect for the team this year, I’d rather all of our focus goes on that.

The only real disappointment for me is the manner we lost in, and I do hope Pears is able to recover his confidence after this.

The next four months have the potential to be the biggest in the club’s last ten years, and if we can make sure we have the focus solely on our league campaign, I’ll take another third round cup exit.

Thanks for reading.

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