By Gerry Prewett.
Rovers record against Wigan Athletic is as even as possible with 10 wins to each team and six draws
Rovers first ever meetings with Wigan were results to be savoured for GasHeads. On 16 October 1982 goals by Graham Withey (2), Paul Randall and Geraint Williams secured an impressive 4-0 victory. However, things got better with our first visit to Springfield Park, Paul Randall (2), Graham Withey (2) and Nicky Platnauer eared Rovers a 5-0 win. A 2-1 victory on 27 March 1984 gave Rovers 3 wins from the first 3 meetings. Less than a month later and Wigan had secured their first point from Rovers with a 0-0 draw.
That was the end of the points from trips to Wigan until a 2-1 win on 4 April 1990 (does a 2-1 victory have a familiar ring to it during that season?).
The next time Rovers visited Springfield park was on 2 December 1997, a seemingly innocuous mid-week Second Division fixture but it has gone down in the annals of this club. The 3-0 defeat in itself wasn’t remarkable, the four red cards shown by Kevin Lynch to Rovers players was.
Mr. Lynch seemed unaware of the icy pitch as he handed out cards as though performing a Christmas postal delivery. Ian Kilford put the Latics ahead after 20 minutes. A challenge from David Pritchard just before half time saw him shown a red card for a second bookable offence, and in the melee that ensued, Rovers pair Jason Perry and Andy Tilson were also sent off for their 'disagreement' with Latics forward Graeme Jones, who was also shown a red card by referee Mr. Lynch.
Before David Lowe's double sealed the result, Rovers went down to just seven men. After sending Josh Low off for a second bookable offence, the Ref even had to consult with his assistant as to whether or not the game could continue with so few players left on the visiting team. It was noted on that night that a quick thinking Peter Beadle realised that if Rovers had another player sent off, the game would have been abandoned and he did his best to join his other colleagues for ‘an early bath’ but for once Mr. Lynch kept his card in his pocket.
In the 2000-01 season, both games finished 0-0. There was then a gap until the 2017-18 season (the last time the teams clashed) with the Latics winning 3-0 at home with goals by Nick Powell (30), Will Grigg (49) and Gavin Massey (90). Ryan Sweeney’s Red Card on 30 minutes didn’t help Rovers cause, with the two sides drawing 1-1 in the return fixture at the Mem.