There were four different names on the score-sheet for Dale, with Reuben Noble-Lazarus, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Niall Canavan and Calvin Andrew all netting in the victory. Yanic Wildshut was on target for the visitors.
After an evenly matched opening period, Dale went on to dominate and were impressive against the newly promoted Championship side, who sent a strong line-up to Spotland.
In the 16th minute Rochdale had the ball in the back of the net but it wouldn’t count. Joe Bunney finished beyond Adam Bogdan from close range after Joe Rafferty had delivered across the face of goal, but it was ruled out for offside.
Three minutes later, Noble-Lazarus picked out Bunney on the right with a perfect diagonal pass. He in turn played in Mendez-Laing, who curled an effort wide of the target.
Dale were on the ascendancy, and took the lead in the 25th minute.
After a well-worked move starting with Callum Camps, Noble-Lazarus was played in on goal by Bunney, and after driving forward, he fired low into the bottom corner of the net to open the scoring.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 1-0 WIGAN ATHLETIC (Noble-Lazarus, 25)
Noble-Lazarus came close to bagging his second of the afternoon just a couple of minutes later. His effort from just inside the 18-yard box took a deflection off a Latics player, sending it up and just over the bar.
Rochdale continued on top and doubled their advantage shortly after the half-hour mark. After capitalising on a mistake, Mendez-Laing unleashed a rocket strike into the top corner of the net from the edge of the area.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 2-0 WIGAN ATHLETIC (Mendez-Laing, 32)
As the half progressed, the Latics continued to barely threaten, with Josh Lillis the quietest of the two ‘keepers.
Yanik Wildshut saw an effort blocked into the side netting shortly before the interval, in a half that was dominated by Dale.
HT: ROCHDALE 2-0 WIGAN ATHLETIC
There were no changes for Dale at the break.
The visitors were improved at the start of the second half but they huffed and puffed rather than threaten. They did have the ball in the back of the net through Jack Hendry three minutes after the re-start, but the whistle had long blown for a foul.
Five Dale substitutions came in quick succession around the hour mark. Mendez-Laing was firstly replaced by Donal McDermott, before summer signing Oliver Rathbone was introduced in place of Noble-Lazarus.
Andy Cannon, Joe Bunney and Jamie Allen made way for Aaron Morley, Calvin Andrew and Scott Tanser, respectively.
In the 67th minute McDermott came close to getting his name on the score-sheet. Andrew, who won a corner, played it short to the Irishman on the edge of the area. He curled his effort just inches wide of the post.
Five minutes later, he sent a thunderous strike at Bogdan.
The Latics halved the deficit in the 78th minute when Wildshut took the ball on his chest and finished from close range.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 2-1 WIGAN ATHLETIC (Wildshut, 78)
After the Latics goal, Rochdale turned the screw and went on to net a third just two minutes later.
The unmarked Niall Canavan met McDermott’s free-kick, leaving Bogdan rooted to the spot with his header.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 3-1 WIGAN ATHLETIC (Canavan, 80)
Dale’s fourth came just a couple of minutes later when Andrew fired a low footed drive in at the post and past Bogdan who had dived to his left.
GOAL: ROCHDALE 4-1 WIGAN ATHLETIC (Andrew, 82)
Manager Keith Hill made one final substitution, with James Hooper replacing Camps.
FT: ROCHDALE 4-1 WIGAN ATHLETIC (Noble-Lazarus, Mendez-Laing, Canavan, Andrew) #RAFC
Dale: Lillis, Rafferty, McGahey, Canavan, McNulty, Cannon, Allen, Camps, RNL, NML, Bunney. Subs: Thompson (trialist), Tanser, Andrew, McDermott, Rathbone, Hooper, Morley.
Wigan: Bogdan, Warnock, Perkins. Power, Power, Wildshut, Burn, Burke, Gilbey, Hendry, Jacobs, Powell. Subs: Jasskelainan, Morsy, Chow, Grigg, Colclough, Flores, Barrigan, Gregory.