Latics up the pressure – Wigan Athletic 1 Rochdale 0

Connor McAleny

Everton loanee Conor McAleny grabbed the winner for Latics

Second placed Wigan increased the pressure on leaders Burton with a 1-0 victory over in-form Rochdale at the DW Stadium.

Burton lost their fixture 2-0 at Millwall and the gap between the Brewers and Latics is now only one point with seven games remaining.

Wigan extended their unbeaten run to 18 games and are looking a good bet for the title after they overcame a hard working 10-man Rochdale.

Substitute Conor McAleny grabbed the vital goal after Yanic Wildschut’s initial shot had come off the crossbar, but Latics should have won by many more after creating chances throughout.

Dale were reduced to 10 men after 33 minutes when Ian Henderson retaliated after a foul by Jason Pearce.

Gary Caldwell made two changes to the team which won 4-1 at Swindon Town on Good Friday, with Jason Pearce and Ryan Colclough replacing Donervon Daniels and Chris McCann.

Latics started confidently with Wildschut posing a major threat down the left hand side.

The first chance of the game fell to the Dutch winger when he met Reece Wabara’s cross with a low drive and the ball appeared to hit a defender’s hand, but referee Mark Brown waved away Latics’ players appeals for a penalty.

The visitors responded with Nathanial Mendez-Laing breaking forward, but returning defender Jason Pearce produced a superb block to deny the winger’s effort on goal.

The game turned in Wigan’s favour on 33 minutes, when Ian Henderson was dismissed for kicking Jason Pearce after the defender had fouled Henderson by the half way line. The fourth official was consulted by the referee before the red card was issued. Pearce was yellow carded for the initial foul.

Latics started to make the extra man count and Wildschut once gain threatened and had another appeal for a penalty turned down when his shot was blocked by a hand in the area.

Will Grigg nearly got on the end of an excellent cross from David Perkins but the scores stayed level at the interval.

Gary Caldwell replaced the out of sorts Ryan Colclough with Conor McAleny at half time. The Everton loanee was soon in the thick of the action and creating opportunities.

Dale were defending in depth and had seemingly dispensed with any attacking inclinations as they sought to secure a point.

On 55 minutes Gary Caldwell decided to go for all out attack and forward Haris Vuckic replaced defender Jason Pearce.

Latics were dominating possession and now camped in the Dale half of the pitch.

McAleny was now Latics’ most vibrant attacker and created several good opportunities before getting the vital winner on 67 minutes.

Wildschut moved into the area and unleashed a shot against the crossbar. The ball fell free in the area, with Vuckic and Grigg both having attempts to get the ball, before McAleny was able to force the ball home from close range.

There was great relief around the home stands as Wigan went ahead, but Rochdale didn’t give up easily and made three attacking substitutions to try and rescue a point. Vincenti, Bunney and the returning Grant Holt joining the fray to mixed responses from the home crowd.

Holt and Vincenti did manage a couple of half chances, but Latics held firm to take all three points and move another step nearer to promotion.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Conor McAleny, League One, Rochdale, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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