Report: Rochdale 5-0 Wigan Athletic
Rochdale’s under 18 side topped off an impressive season on Wednesday afternoon as they swept aside Wigan Athletic in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup final at Spotland.
The youngsters hit five past their opponents to ensure they finished their season with silverware.
Scott Tanser netted a hattick in the rout, while Danny Whitehall and Joel Logan also got their name on the scoresheet in the comfortable victory over the Latics.
The match had been a long time coming for the Dale Youth Team, with their semi-final tie taking place back in March. The youngsters have also been kicking their heels for almost a fortnight after their league season came to an end last month.
Despite having no action for nearly two weeks, the team looked sharp and dominated play from the outset as they swept aside their opponents.
From the first whistle a goal always looked likely for Dale with their attacking line proving a threat in the final third, and on 15 minutes Joel Logan headed narrowly wide of the upright after getting on the end of a deep cross from Jamie Allen.
Momentum continued with Rochdale and just two minutes later, left full back Scott Tanser fired Dale ahead from the penalty spot. He was awarded the spot kick after being upended inside the box and he made no mistake as he smashed it past goalkeeper Calvin Hare and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
After the goal Dale continued to press and had attempts on goal from Tanser and Allen, before Danny Whitehall doubled their lead on 41 minutes. Whitehall collided with the ‘keeper as he rose above the stopper to head in at the near post, but the goal was allowed to stand. Hare received treatment for a short spell before being replaced by Michael Cottrill.
And it didn’t take long for the youngsters to add to their tally when Tanser netted with an astonishing piece of vision from inside his own half after spotting Cottrill off his line four minutes later. He sent a long ball forward and over the head of the ‘keeper who had been caught unawares.
Andy Cannon came close to extending Dale’s lead further inside stoppage time, but the ‘keeper pulled off a fine save to deny him six yards from goal.
HT: ROCHDALE 3-0 WIGAN ATHLETIC
After the interval, Rochdale continued to dominate and they looked comfortable in all areas of the pitch. In the final third they continued to be a nuisance in front of goal, while opportunities were at a premium for the visitors as the midfield and the defence worked well together to stop any attack in its tracks.
Wigan did have a rare chance on goal on 56 minutes when Ryan Jennings broke free from the back four and travelled through one on one with goalkeeper Aaron Ashley, but much to his frustration and disappointment, he dragged his shot wide of the target.
Shortly after the hour mark, the referee adjudged that Cannon had been felled inside the area and he awarded Dale’s second penalty of the afternoon. Tanser stepped up to take the spot kick and sealed his hattrick as he coolly slotted it into the left hand bottom corner.
The rout wasn’t over however, and Logan made it made it five on 70 minutes as he headed home from an Allen corner.
Two minutes after the goal, the woodwork denied Dale a sixth as a Cannon’s free-kick came off the post and back into play.
Wigan went in search of a consolation, but Sam Cosgrove was kept out by a quick reaction save from Ashley with 82 minutes on the clock.
It finished Rochdale 5, Wigan Athletic 0.
Rochdale: Ashley, Hill, O’Connor, Antoine-Clarke, Tanser, Leigh, Cannon, Allen,Martin, Logan, Whitehall. Subs: Musangu, Horan, Reid, Hooper, Akinwale Samuels.
Wigan Athletic: Hare, Mather, Gibson, Ainscough, Wilson, Mason, Jennings, Meadows, Hamilton, Johnson, Anderson. Subs: Cottrill, Cosgrove, Gibbons.