Benni the hero for Blackburn

BLACKBURN - South Africa's Benni McCarthy scored one goal and created the other as Blackburn Rovers beat Wigan Athletic 2-0 at Ewood Park in Blackburn on Sunday to move closer to Premier League survival.

BLACKBURN - South Africa's Benni McCarthy scored one goal and created the other as Blackburn Rovers beat Wigan Athletic 2-0 at Ewood Park in Blackburn on Sunday to move closer to Premier League survival.

Victory left Sam Allardyce's side six points clear of the bottom three with four league games left to play this season after Middlesbrough's 2-0 loss away to Arsenal earlier on Sunday.

McCarthy opened the scoring on the stroke of half time when he headed in from a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner that left Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland floundering, though he appeared to be impeded by defender-turned-striker Christopher Samba.

It was a similar story on the hour mark when, from McCarthy's whipped-in free-kick, Rovers captain Ryan Nelsen scored his first goal for the club after the New Zealand central defender headed in with Samba again making a nuisance of himself in front of the keeper.

"It was phenomenal today, a valuable three points," McCarthy told Sky Sports. "Hopefully, this one can motivate us for the next couple of games so we can get this [relegation] off our own minds.

Allardyce added: "We've been clawing ourselves out ever since I came here. That's 24 points from 17 games now.

"In equation terms if you got that over the season that's a top-half finish." - Sapa-AFP

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