Rochdale bounced back superbly from the weekend to earn an incredible 5-0 win against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night.
Goals from Kwadwo Baah, Matty Lund, Stephen Dooley and a double from Alex Newby secured the points for Brian Barry-Murphy’s side, in what was a hugely important win against the Latics.
There were two changes from the Dale side that were comfortably beaten against Peterborough United on Saturday, as Jim McNulty and Baah replaced Tolaji Bola and Dooley in the starting eleven.
It was Baah’s first start of the season and he marked it in superb style, as he grabbed the opening goal with just four minutes on the clock.
Newby did well down the right-hand side, and his cross went all the way through to the 17-year-old, who cut inside before firing an unstoppable shot past Jamie Jones in the Wigan net, marking the goal with an equally impressive backflip celebration.
🤸♂️ @officiallydale 🤸♂️
— Sky Bet League One (@SkyBetLeagueOne) December 15, 2020
Dale should have doubled their advantage not long after, as more good work down the right led Jimmy Keohane to cross the ball to Lund but the Northern Irishman fired his volley straight at the Wigan ‘keeper.
However, the midfielder wouldn’t have long to wait to get his name on the scoresheet, as he doubled the away side’s lead just ten minutes later, in what was his seventh goal of the season.
Stephen Humphrys’ shot was tipped behind for a corner and after it was partially cleared, Aaron Morley delivered what is becoming a signature pinpoint delivery, which was powerfully met by Lund to put Barry-Murphy’s side in control.
The home side didn’t roll over however and showed signs of scoring in the latter stages of the first-half, with Will Keane volleying over the bar after a deep cross from the impressive Tom Pearce.
Jay Lynch then made a superb save to deny Tom James following a rare mistake from Haydon Roberts, with the ‘keeper providing a strong hand to save at his near post.
The home side were perhaps lucky not to be reduced to ten men with half-time approaching, with Adam Long handed a yellow card by the referee after a strong challenge on Jimmy Ryan, which unfortunately saw the midfielder go off injured, and he was replaced by Dooley.
Half Time: Wigan Athletic 0-2 Rochdale
Referee Graham Salisbury would have another decision to make just after half-time, as Dooley clattered into a Wigan forward, for which he received a yellow card.
The opening 10 minutes of the second period quickly turned into a scrappy affair, with Curtis Tilt the next home player to be booked, after what was, in my opinion, the worst challenge of the night. His tackle on Baah could’ve caused serious injury for the 17-year-old, with captain Eoghan O’Connell absolutely fuming with the nature of the challenge.
However, Dale would make the game safe shortly before the hour mark, with Dooley adding a third after a superb move from Barry-Murphy’s team.
McNulty’s ball forward found the feet of the dangerous Baah, whose lay off was picked up by Lund on the half-way line. He stormed forward before finding Dooley, and the winger showed quick feet to beat his man with a step over, before smashing the ball past Jones on his left foot.
The away side were beginning to enjoy themselves and quickly had a fourth, to match the number of goals they grabbed at Plymouth in their last Tuesday night fixture.
A counter-attack found Newby away down the right and his ball into the box was controlled by Humphrys, and he was hauled down by Leicester City loanee Darnell Johnson, resulting in a penalty. It was perhaps a little soft, but this was to be Rochdale’s night.
Newby stepped up and tucked away the penalty past the despairing dive of Jones to make it 4-0 to the Dale.
Barry-Murphy rung the changes not long after, with Fabio Tavares, Matt Done, Tolaji Bola and Ethan Brierley all introduced.
Done had a great opportunity to add to Dale’s lead when he was found by an excellent through ball from Keohane, but he curled a shot way over the ball when the away side had men queuing up in the penalty area.
Wigan came close to a consolation goal as we approached injury time but O’Connell summed up his performance this season by superbly clearing off the line when Lynch was beaten by James’ header.
However, their misery would be compounded when Tavares broke away down the left-hand side, and after his shot was blocked, Newby sent a left-footed shot past Jones to make it 5-0 to the away side.
Five star performance! 🤩
— Rochdale AFC (@officiallydale) December 15, 2020
Full Time: Wigan Athletic 0-5 Rochdale
Man of the Match: Alex Newby