Hill takes swipe at cash-rich Wi­gan...

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Fuller

AF­TER build­ing up a head of sec­ond-half steam to knock the stuff­ing out of Southend, Rochdale man­ager Keith Hill was quick to switch his at­ten­tions to land­ing a blow to Wi­gan’s ti­tle charge on Easter Mon­day.

Hav­ing strug­gled to find top gear in the open­ing half, with Grant Holt haul­ing them level af­ter Jack Payne’s opener, Dale came out swing­ing af­ter the restart with goals for Joe Raf­ferty, Jamie Allen and Joe Bun­ney.

The vic­tory moves Rochdale to within two points of the play-offs and Hill was quick to taunt sec­ond-placed Wi­gan over their su­pe­rior fi­nan­cial mus­cle ahead of to­mor­row’s show­down.

“Let’s be hon­est,Wi­gan have a Cham­pi­onship bud­get and they should be walk­ing this league by a coun­try mile,” he said.

“I have a lot of re­spect for them as a club but we’ll go there with a fighter’s chance.We have play­ers who can de­liver knock­out punches and that’s our in­ten­tion.

“It wasn’t a great spec­ta­cle in the first half against Southend be­cause we didn’t have much pen­e­tra­tion, but in the sec­ond half I’d say it was to­tal dom­i­nance.

“I wouldn’t have minded if it’d been a nar­row 2-1 win with a scruffy sec­ond goal and a bad per­for­mance be­cause that could po­ten­tially have hap­pened af­ter that first half.

“But for the play­ers to re­spond to our in­struc- tions at half-time in the man­ner they did was ab­so­lutely su­perb, it was a tremen­dous sec­ond half.”

Southend took a sur­prise lead af­ter 28 min­utes when Payne chipped past Josh Lil­lis, only for the home side to level four min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val as Holt stabbed home.

Rochdale as­sumed con­trol on 49 min­utes when Raf­ferty stroked home Donal McDer­mott’s cen­tre, while shortly af­ter the hour mark Jimmy McNulty pro­vided the am­mu­ni­tion for cap­tain Allen to fin­ish with a low drive be­fore Bun­ney sealed mat­ters in stop­page time.

“The sea­son is pe­ter­ing out into noth­ing,” said Southend man­ager Phil Brown.“It’s been a bright sea­son, we’ve been hang­ing onto the shirt tails of the play­offs but I think our play-off hopes are 100 per cent gone now.

“I’m very dis­ap­pointed with the per­for­mance – the per­for­mance with­out the ball more than any­thing else.

“We got the first goal and si­lenced the crowd but couldn’t see the game out.

“It was un­ac­cept­able de­fend­ing for the sec­ond, third and fourth goals – a poor day at the of­fice.

“Harsh words have been spo­ken in that dress­ing room.

“The chang­ing room lacks a lit­tle bit of fight some­times.”

STAR MAN DONAL MCDER

MOTT Rochda

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