Football: Rochdale 3 - 3 Wigan

Date published: 18 January 2021

Stephen Humphrys headed a stoppage time equaliser as 10-man Rochdale twice came from behind to earn a point against Wigan Athletic on Saturday 16 January. Humphrys' header from a Ryan McLaughlin cross five minutes into added time saw Dale earn an unlikely point after playing half of the game with 10 men, after Jim McNulty was sent off on the stroke of half-time.

Humphrys had given Dale a seventh minute lead only for Wigan to turn the game around to take the lead with goals from Kyle Joseph and Callum Lang. Despite the numerical advantage, Wigan couldn’t extend their lead and when Jake Beesley bravely headed in from the edge of the area with the goalkeeper bearing down on him it looked like a point gained.

Wigan scored a third through captain Will Keane and that goal looked to have sealed the win until Humphrys’ late header.

Brian Barry-Murphy made just one change to the side that drew 4-4 in the midweek trip to Charlton. Matty Done was preferred to Ryan McLaughlin with Jimmy Keohane switching to right back.

After a plethora of goals in recent games, including a 5-0 win against Wigan just four weeks ago, Dale took the lead in the seventh minute through Humphrys. Kwadwo Baah caused havoc down the left with Wigan debutant Tendayi Darikwa hacking the Dale man down on the edge of the area. Humphrys stepped up to take the free kick and despite his initial effort being blocked by the wall, the Dale striker hit a deflected left footed shot past Owen Evans.

The lead didn’t last as Wigan drew level less than two minutes later. Dan Gardner beat his man on the left and his low ball into the area was met first time by Kyle Joseph who fired into the bottom corner.

Wigan looked the better of the two sides and soon edged in front soon after through Callum Lang. Recently returned from a loan spell at Motherwell, Lang turned Hayden Roberts inside the box before coolly slotting past Bazunu.

Bazunu had to be alert to bat away an angled drive from Joseph whilst a diving header from Lang should have troubled the Dale keeper but was off target.

The main talking point of the first half came moments before the interval when Jim McNulty was shown a straight red card after tackling Kyle Joseph. The two players got into a tangle of legs on the halfway line and when McNulty appeared to kick out at the striker, referee Bobby Madley showed him a straight red card.

Brian Barry-Murphy made a change at the break with Ryan McLaughlin replacing Kwadwo Baah which meant Keohane would switch into the heart of the Dale defence.

Neither side had any real chances worthy of note until just shy of the hour mark when the 10 men of Rochdale equalised. A long punt up field from Bazunu tempted the Wigan goalkeeper out of his area with Beesley bravely challenging and winning his header which bounced in despite the best efforts of Adam Long on the line who injured himself in the process of trying to stop the ball going in.

Substitute Stephen Dooley glanced a header wide of the target as Dale went in search of a winner but got caught out at the other end as Wigan restored their lead. A left wing cross from Tom Pearce was only partially cleared by Keohane and when Keane was allowed to juggle the ball six yards out, the former Manchester United man turned and slammed the ball in.

The home side looked dead on their feet with Wigan pushing forward at will. Joseph should have extended the lead from inside the six yard box from another Pearce cross from the left but he lifted the ball over the bar whilst a Rochdale attack broke down and with three Wigan attackers against a lone Jimmy Keohane, you could safely bet a fourth goal was on its way but Keane somehow contrived to give the ball away when in front of goal with just Bazunu to beat.

That was the chance that Wigan would rue as deep into seven added minutes at the end of the game, Dale equalised. McLaughlin’s cross from the right was perfect for Humphrys to rise and head past Evans for a well deserved point.

Nobody can say they aren’t entertained by Rochdale games of late, in the last eight games alone, there have been 41 goals.


Rochdale: Bazunu, Keohane, McNulty, Roberts, Done, Baah (McLaughlin 46), Lund (Dooley 59), Rathbone ©, Morley (Newby 81), Beesley, Humphrys
Substitutes: (not used) Lynch, Bradley, Brierley, Dunne

Wigan: Evans, Darikwa, Long (Robinson 62), James, Pearce, Merrie, Perry, Gardner (Aasgaard 54), Lang (Crankshaw 90), Keane ©, Joseph
Substitutes: (not used) Obi

Referee: Mr R Madley
Assistants: Ms L Rashid & Mr P Graham
Fourth Official: S Clayton

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