ROCHDALE, WIGAN and BOLTON will all be in the hat for the FA Cup fourth-round draw on Monday evening.
Dale and Wigan each recorded 2-0 wins in Saturday’s third-round ties, at non-league Barrow and at home to Nottingham Forest, respectively. And Bolton will also be in the draw after earning a 0-0 draw at home to a much-changed Crystal Palace side, managed by their former boss Sam Allardyce.
The BBC broadcast Football Focus live from Barrow’s Holker Street ground in anticipation of an upset and there was a sell-out crowd in Cumbria – in both the home and away ends. But a shock never looked in the offing as Rochdale eased to their sixth straight win.
Ian Henderson headed home a 17th-minute corner by Steven Davies before Richie Bennett and Moussa Diarra were denied by Dale keeper Conrad Logan, who last week signed another short-term until the end of the season.
Dale’s Keith Hill and Matty Lund won League One’s Manager and Player of the Month awards last week, with Lund having scored a hat-trick from midfield in the 3-2 win at Northampton. The Northern Ireland international fired wide either side of the break at Barrow while Davies also went close in the second half.
But on 62 minutes, Henderson latched onto Ollie Rathbone’s through-ball to score his sixth goal in four games and his 12th of the season. That sent Dale into the fourth round for the third time in four seasons.
Boss Hill said: “There was no fear of losing this match and I don’t think a shock was ever on the cards. I’m not bothered who we get in the next round because we just want to go as far as we possibly can.
“I know I’ve got a good, young, energetic side with some really good experienced players and if we all do the right thing and continue performing like we are doing, then anything is possible.”
WIGAN enjoyed their first win in eight as they eased past fellow Championship strugglers Forest. Will Grigg gave Latics a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time through his first goal since September. Yanic Wildschut then fired home on 57 minutes, again from a Stephen Warnock assist, as Wigan dominated in front of a crowd of just 5,163 at the DW Stadium.
Nick Powell suffered an early injury blow and had to be replaced by Jordi Gomez, the only Latic who was in their 2013 Cup final-winning side. And although the Spanish midfielder handed Forest a lifeline by tripping fellow sub Lica on 81 minutes, Eric Lichaj’s penalty was saved by Jakob Haugaard, who only met his new team-mates in the dressing room after arriving on loan from Stoke till the end of the season.
Wigan boss Warren Joyce said: “It would have been disappointing to concede because we controlled the game. It was satisfying to get a win, whether it was the Cup or not. I was pleased with the performance and felt we thoroughly deserved to win the game.
“I don’t think our form today was any different to our form in recent games. The display was very similar, it’s just the end result. At 2-0 and giving the penalty away, it could’ve been the same stupid series of events that have happened in a few of our games, so that’s what I’ve been talking to the players about – not letting sides back in. We can’t afford to do that. I don’t think there’s been a lot wrong with our performances, it’s just silly, small margins that have cost us during my time here (since November).”
BOLTON boss Phil Parkinson was proud of his side’s performance against Palace as they had chances to beat the Premier League outfit. On-loan midfielder James Henry twice went close for Wanderers before Palace striker Loic Remy and Bolton midfielder Josh Vela struck a post either side of the break. The replay will be played at Selhurst Park a week on Tuesday, January 17.
The fourth-round draw will be shown live on BT Sport 2 and BBC 2, from 7pm on Monday night, before Cambridge’s home tie against Leeds.