LAT­ICS FLEX

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris Dunlavy

DE­FLATED Dale boss Keith Hill called Wi­gan the Manch­ester United of League One af­ter see­ing his strug­gling side com­pre­hen­sively dis­man­tled at Spot­land.

Goals from Ja­son Pearce and Michael Ja­cobs con­signed an over­pow­ered and out­paced Rochdale side to their sev­enth league game with­out a vic­tory.The Lat­ics,by con­trast, are now ten un­beaten.

And while Hill was an­gered by his own team’s er­rors, he said his play­ers can­not be ex­pected to com­pete with a side who played in the Premier League just two years ago.

“Fi­nan­cially,Wi­gan are the Manch­ester United of League One,” he said. “There’s no ques­tion about that. The re­sources they’ve got, the play­ers they can af­ford – we can­not con­tend with that.

“But you can’t give the elite teams of League One an up­per hand and we did. The first 20 min­utes just passed us by with­out us even com­pet­ing and that’s dis­ap­point­ing.

“It’s frus­trat­ing at the mo­ment. I’m deal­ing with in­con­sis­ten­cies game af­ter game, col­lec­tively and in­di­vid­u­ally. The play­ers we had run­ning last sea­son – they don’t seem to be making those same runs or making de­ci­sions as quickly.

“Maybe that’s down to in­juries, maybe not just feel­ing it.We’re not quite there and it’s my job as a man­ager to get to the bot­tom of it.”

Con­sid­er­ing Rochdale are a side built on dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion, their rank in­abil­ity to string three passes to­gether – es­pe­cially in a woe­ful open­ing quar­ter - un­sur­pris­ingly irked Hill.

Wi­gan can take much credit for that.The away side’s phys­i­cal power and ag­gres­sive press­ing har­ried Dale’s play­ers into a suc­ces­sion of hasty passes and aim­less hoofs. Dave Perkins, in par­tic­u­lar, was a fizzing pin­ball of trips, tugs and tack­les that pre­vented Rochdale build­ing any kind of rhythm.

Nev­er­the­less, plenty of sim­ple balls went astray or, worse, straight to a Wi­gan boot.Worse sides than the Lat­ics will pun­ish that kind of profli­gacy and, in the 16th minute, Dale made one mis­take too many.

First, Rhys Ben­nett clat­tered Ja­cobs. Then, when the Wi­gan mid­fielder floated a free-kick to the back post, the home de­fence stood frozen as Pearce rose un­chal­lenged to head home.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

CRACKER: Michael Ja­cobs cel­e­brates scor­ing the sec­ond goal for Wi­gan af­ter Ja­son Pearce had put them ahead, inset

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