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No escaping from Alcaraz as Blackburn go out with whimper

Blackburn Rovers were relegated last night with rain, tennis balls and relentless derision falling on their beleaguered manager Steve Kean.

Whatever Kean's limitations, it was a disgrace that Rovers' owners, the Venky's, did not turn up for this brutal denouement. This fine club has been left bereft by poor management on and off the pitch.

It was like the coliseum at times, Kean even requiring a bodyguard as Blackburn's 11 years in the Premier League ended. A chicken invaded the pitch in the first half, a fan threw his season ticket at the dugouts in the second half and 30 Rovers fans protested on the pitch at the final whistle. Kean had made a sharp exit. In the background, the giant screen read "Thank you for your support this season".

For Wigan, there was nothing but celebration. Antolin Alcaraz's late header guaranteeing survival for their jubilant fans, who had sung "I'm a believer" for much of this game.

Victor Moses had missed several chances to give Wigan the lead in the first half, the best coming when he was unable to convert Franco Di Santo's testing cross from close range. The second half was slightly delayed following unconfirmed reports that paramedics were called to attend to Blackburn defender Gael Givet.

However, fears Givet had been suffering from a recurrence of a heart problem where dismissed and he took his place in the stands as the club confirmed he was taking off after a hamstring injury. Wigan dominanted and grabbed the game's only goal through Alcaraz's 87th-minute header.

* WEST HAM UNITED, are now just 90 minutes from a return to the top flight after goals from Kevin Nolan, Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard swept aside Cardiff 3-0 in the Championship play-off semi-final second leg.

Having led 2-0 from the first leg, they now face either Blackpool or Birmingham on Saturday week.