Wigan Athletic beat Rochdale 1-0 at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon to resume their promotion push after two consecutive league defeats.
The DW Stadium
Both teams went into the game on the back of FA Cup 5th Round shocks as the Latics famously beat Manchester City 1-0 on Monday night, while Dale drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The game was set up nicely to be entertaining, however, it was not one for the neutral with just the one goal from Michael Jacobs separating the two sides.
Wigan made seven changes to the famous side that dumped Manchester City out of the FA Cup, as Jamie Walker, James Vaughan and Jay Fulton all made their first starts for the club.
Donervon Daniels returned to the Latics starting 11 after his loan at Rochdale ended in January.
Dale made one change to the side that drew with Spurs as Ollie Rathbone replaced Joseph Rafferty.
Wigan’s first real opportunity resulted in a goal as Michael Jacobs opened the scoring. The skipper latched onto a through ball put into the box by Jamie Walker and the skipper finished neatly passed keeper Josh Lillis and into the bottom right corner.
After that goal the game started to open up as the Latics went close to furthering their lead. James Vaughan’s header looped over the top of the crossbar before Jamie Walker cut inside onto his right and forced a stop from Lillis.
The pressure continued from Wigan with half an hour played as Ryan Colclough got away from his man and fired a 20-yard strike just over the bar.
Rochdale had chances themselves as Ian Henderson, who scored against Tottenham, was through on goal. The striker lashed a shot from the edge of the box and it just went wide of Christian Walton’s right post.
Wigan went straight up the other end and almost made it 2-0 as Jamie Walker was one on one with Lillis. The Scotsman took it around the keeper but his touch let him down as there was a Rochdale man in front of the goal to block his effort out.
The home side resumed their dominance in possession early on in the second half as Jacobs came close to getting a brace. The winger switched feet and came inside onto his left foot and he got a powerful shot away but Lillis palmed it away.
A chance for both sides then followed as Vaughan got on the end of Jay Fulton’s cross with a header but Lillis held comfortably.
The visitors quickly attacked and Henderson was able to get a free header at the far post but his attempt, to the relief of Walton, just went over the top.
Some good work down the right side by substitute Gavin Massey allowed him to find Max Power on the edge of the box but the midfielder blew his shot way over.
Power came a lot closer a few minutes later as he stepped up for a free kick on the right side, a couple of yards from the penalty area. His effort rattled the top of the crossbar and the Latics were unlucky not to extend their one goal advantage.
Despite a nervy ending for the Latics, they held onto the win and resumed their hope of automatic promotion back to the Championship.
Wigan remain in third place as both Blackburn and Shrewbury won in their respected games against Walsall and Charlton.
The Latics are three points behind first place Rovers but they do have three games on the teams above them with Wigan and Blackburn set to face off next Sunday.
As for Rochdale, they sit bottom of League 1 on 26 points, however, they do have five games in hand on 19th place Northampton who have 38 points.
Wigan: 1. Christian Walton, 6. Max Power, 7. Jamie Walker (11. Gavin Massey), 8. James Vaughan (9. Will Grigg), 12. Donervon Daniels, 17. Michael Jacobs (CAPT), 22. Chey Dunkley, 26. Reece James, 27. Ryan Colclough (4. David Perkins), 28. Jay Fulton, 33. Dan Burn
Non-used subs: 23. Jamie Jones, 10. Devante Cole, 14. Alex Bruce, 18. Gary Roberts
Rochdale: 1. Josh Lillis, 4. Jim McNulty (19. Steven Davies), 6. Harrison McGahey, 10. Callum Camps (30. Billy Knott), 12. Scott Wiseman, 14. Ollie Rathbone (31. Sam Hart), 16. Matty Done, 21. Ryan Delaney, 27. Andy Cannon, 32. Mark Kitching, 40. Ian Henderson
Non-used subs: 7. Stephan Humphrys, 15. Joe Thompson, 17. Bradden Inman, 22. Brendan Moore