Two goals one in each half saw Wigan take the spoils with a performance which whilst it might not have sent the pulses racing nevertheless saw Wigan run out deserved winners earning the Latics three points in their promotion campaign with goals from by Pearce and Jacobs
Wigan’s team has been much changed over the last two games with cup matches to the fore but Wigan manager Gary Caldwell largely reverted in the main to the side which ground out a win against Swindon on the last league outing handing a debut to loan striker Revell with league recalls for vice captain Pearce and target man Davies replacing Grigg, McCann and Love and a switch to 4-4-2.
The first half was one of total dominance for Wigan against a spirited but limited Rochdale side with the attacking flair of James and Daniels bursting out from the back, feeding the attacking midfield of Wildschut, Perkins and Power who linked well with the front two of Davies and Revell.
The best battle of the afternoon was between the rampaging WIldschut and Rochdale’s best player Bennett a combat worth the entry fee alone. The first chance fell to Dnaiels following good work by Wildschut on the left and his long range shot was pushed away by Lillis in the home goal. Daniels was at it again a few minutes later this time with his head following a good corner from Jacobs. Jacobs was a constant threat from set pieces and from a free kick from the attacking midfielder, Jason Pearce beat the offside trap and headed the ball past the keeper inside the near post wheeling away to celebrate in front of the massed ranks of travelling Wigan supporters.
Jacobs was on fire and nearly scored himself when a powerful shot whizzed past the far post. Wigan were then forced to make a change when James who had been injured in a strong tackle a few minutes earlier had to limp off to be replaced by Chris McCann. Wigan didn’t miss a beat with the enforced change and continued to dominate proceedings without really threatening the home goal.
Wigan started the second half seemingly content to nullify any Rochdale attacks and then try to strike on the counter attack with Wildschuts pacy runs giving the home side a constant headache.
Rochdale were emboldened by Wigan’s more defensive stance in the second half and began to dominate possession in the second half and Wigan had a narrow escape when Bunney’s effort spiralled over the bar after Jaskelainen spilled a cross. Wigan hit back and a cross from Jacobs narrowly failed to meet the head of Craig Davies in the centre of the area. Then a failed clearance from Eastham saw the ball land at the feet of Jacobs but his curled shot went. narrowly wide of the goal.
At the other end Bunney had a good shout for a penalty when he went down under the challenge of Power but Premier League referee Mr Swarbrick waved away the ‘Dale pleas
Jacobs efforts finally were rewarded then finally got his rewards when Daniels broke out on the right , his beautiful crossfield ball found Wildschut who outpaced Bennett ran along the goal line and pulled the ball back for Jacobs whose shot flew into the net sparking wild celebrations amongst the Wigan fans.
Caldwell signaled his intent replacing dangerman Davies with the more defensive minded midfielder Don Cowie as Wigan seemed content to play the game out. There was still time for the occasional chance, a fine fingertip save by Jaaskelainen from Bunney, whilst for Wigan fans favourite Perkins warmed the hands of Lilllis with a rasping long range drive.
The full time whistle brought to an end a very satisfying performance from Wigan who yes could have maybe push forwards more after half time in search of more goals but secured the three points in confident style.
Team Line up and Player ratings
Jaskelainen……..6, a few shaky moments
Daniels……………8, superb in both defence and attack
Pearce……………8 , brought much needed steel to the defence and took his goal well
Morgan…………..7, solid captain’s performance
James……………6, a few bright moments then injured, withdrawn
Jacobs……………9, MOM, at the heart of everything good about Wigan
Perkins…………..7, a solid unfussy performance
Power…………….7, goes about his business in an understated fashion, withdrawn
Wildschut………..8, a defender’s nightmare.
Revell…………….6, ran around a lot
Davies……………..6, worked hard, withdrawn
Entertainment rating 5/10
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