Stephen Humprhys’ header deep in stoppage time secured a point for ten man Rochdale on Saturday, as Dale came from behind to draw 3-3 with Wigan Athletic at the Crown Oil Arena.
In a game where Jim McNulty was sent off just before the break, Humphrys had put Dale ahead early on, only for the Latics to draw level moments later through Kyle Joseph. The visitors went ahead soon after, when Callum Lang struck home.
Behind and reduced to ten men at the interval, Jake Beesley put Rochdale back on level terms just before the hour, but against Wigan responded and three minutes later they were ahead for a second time in the game.
Rochdale’s never say die attitude has never been more prevalent that in recent weeks, and it was on show again on Saturday as Humphrys netted in the 95th minute to claim a point for his side.
Dale started on the front foot and had their first opportunity of the game after a couple of minutes, when Aaron Morley struck narrowly wide of the upright after Ollie Rathbone laid the ball off to him on the edge of the area.
Rochdale broke the deadlock soon after, on seven minutes. Humphrys' initial free-kick was blocked, but the forward was quickest to the ball as it came back out to him, and after cutting into the area he struck low into the bottom corner.
Wigan responded almost immediately, though, and were back on level terms two minutes later. Dan Gardner put a low cross into the area from a short corner and Joseph swept home from close range.
And the visitors turned the game on its head in the 16th minute when Lang turned inside the area after getting on the end of a Joseph through ball to slot beyond Gavin Bazunu.
Humphrys had a looping header held, before Latics should have extended their lead. Tom Pearce sent a dangerous ball in from the left and Lang somehow put a diving header wide of the target.
Before the break, Rochdale were reduced to 10 men when Jim McNulty was sent off after tangling with Joseph.
HT | ROCHDALE 1-2
There was one change at the interval as Ryan McLaughlin was brought on to replace Kwadwo Baah, allowing Jimmy Keohane to go to centre-back in place of McNulty.
Soon after the re-start, Joseph hit over the bar from close range, while Bazunu was called into action to tip a fierce Will Keane effort over before holding an Alex Perry shot from a tight angle.
Although numerically disadvantaged, Rochdale were very much in the second half and levelled the scoring in the 58th minute through Beesley. Bazunu sent a long ball forward which took a bounce inside Wigan’s 18-yard box and Beesley, who had bravely chased down the ball, got a head on it, taking the ball across the line despite the best efforts of a defender who had raced back.
Dale’s second substitution of the game followed immediately, as Matt Lund made way for Stephen Dooley.
And substitute Dooley came close to putting Dale ahead in the 74th minute when he met a Done cross in from the byline, but he could only head wide of the post.
Three minutes later and the visitors were ahead for a second time in the game. After a shot was initially blocked, it fell for Keane, who after controlling it with his back to goal, turned and hooked the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Wigan substitute Emeka Obi struck over, before Alex Newby replaced Morley in Dale’s fourth change of the match, soon after.
Rochdale finished the game strongly as they went in search of an equaliser and Newby had a low effort held by Owen Evans, while Dooley had a shot beaten away as the game entered added time.
Latics hit Dale on the break but squandered their chance to put to the game to bed and they would go on to rue that missed opportunity as Humphrys netted deep in stoppage time.
The Dale forward rose highest to meet McLaughlin’s cross in from the right to secure a deserved point for Rochdale.
HT | ROCHDALE 3-3 WIGAN ATHLETIC