On-loan Wildschut stars as Wigan down Rochdale
Hill bemoaned his side’s “suicidal defending”, but Wigan counterpart Gary Caldwell preferred to salute Pearce, who was making his first start since September following injury.
“Jason’s had injuries and not really got a run in the side,” said the Scot.“I brought him back in for his defensive qualities and I think it’s no coincidence that this was our first clean sheet away from home.To cap it off with a goal was great for him.”
Caldwell also hailed the performance of Yanic Wildschut, the on-loan Middlesbrough winger whose pace and power terrorised Rochdale all afternoon. The Dutch winger was the architect of Wigan’s second, latching onto a crossfield ball from Donervon Daniels, skinning Ash Eastman and squaring for Jacobs to thunder in off the bar.
“He’s enjoying his football,” said Caldwell.“I think we use him in the right manner, he’s got a lot of talent. He’s got the tools to play at the highest level but he’s got a lot to learn and we’re trying to help him do that. Hopefully there’s something we can do to keep him beyond January.”
In actual fact, Jacobs’ thunderbolt was marginally against the run of play, with Rochdale – driven on by the impressive Callum Camps – having recovered manfully from their first-half shellacking. They even managed to test Jussi Jaaskelainen, top-scorer Peter Vincenti unleashing a low drive that the veteran shovelled round the far post.
By then, though, the game was effectively up and Wigan might have added to their lead when Perkins’ powerful 25-yard drive was pushed to safety by Josh Lillis.
“I’m delighted,” said Caldwell, whose side stay fifth. “We knew it was a big game and, first-half especially, I thought we were great – we could have had three or four.”
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STAR MAN YANIC WILDSCHUT