Latics hammer Middlesbrough’s U21 side as goals from Lee Evans, Victor Maffeo, Noel Hunt and Ryan Colclough take Paul Cook’s side a step closer to Checkatrade Trophy progression.
- Match Report: Wigan Athletic 4 - 1 Middlesbrough U21
- Goals from Lee Evans, Victor Maffeo, Noel Hunt and Ryan Colclough secure the win.
- Latics need a point in final group game v Accrington Stanley to progress.
A Wigan Athletic side including a number of academy gradautes put four goals past Middlesbrough’s Under 23 side in the Checkatrade Trophy at the DW Stadium this evening, enhancing Latics' chances of progression to the next round in the process.
Goals from Lee Evans, Victor Maffeo, Noel Hunt and Ryan Colclough secured the win after Matija Sarkic saved on his debut for the club to deny Boro's George Miller from the penalty spot.
Sarkic, who was making his Latics debut, was called upon to keep the scores level after a quarter of an hour as he dived low to his right to deny Miller's spot-kick, after Evans was penalised for handball.
Latics were awarded a penalty of their own just after the half hour mark and Evans beat Boro keeper Zach Hemming emphatically from 12 yards.
The lead was extended through Maffeo just before half time as he volleyed past Hemming to give his side a two goal cushion at the interval after a nice move saw Reece James' deep cross headed back across goal by the impressive Colclough.
Luke Armstrong pulled one back after the break for the visitors, but Hunt widened the margin with a header inside the box from a Tylor Golden cross, while Colclough added a fourth 15 minutes from time.
Paul Cook handed academy duo Adam Long and Golden their full debuts, while Maffeo was making his home debut having previously featured in the competition against Blackpool.
Latics started the game brightly and nearly went ahead through Colclough, but his header inside the box came back off the far post.
The visitors were awarded a penalty shortly after when Evans was adjudged to have handled in the area, however Miller’s effort was saved brilliantly by Sarkic.
Colclough later forced Hemming into a fine save at his near post, while Ben Liddle and Miller wasted good opportunities at the other end.
Hemming was called into action again to thwart Colclough, but Latics did take the lead in the 33rd minute when Evans powerfully shot past Hemming from the penalty spot.
The lead was doubled just before the break when Maffeo volleyed home emphatically past Hemming to net on his full home debut.
Boro were positive after the break and very nearly pulled a goal back through Connor Malley, but his curling effort from 20 yards hit the post and went out of play.
Paul Stephenson’s side did reduce the arrears in the 53rd minute through Armstrong, who latched on to a cross in the area to beat Sarkic.
In response, Luke Burgess cut in from the right for Latics but shot off target, while Hunt’s curled effort from a tight angle was held by Hemming.
Latics extended their lead through substitute Hunt’s header before Colclough made sure of victory with a neat finish from close range.
Wigan Athletic: Sarkic; Golden, Thomas, Long (Bruce 75), James; Evans, Perkins (C); Maffeo (Malumo 70), Burgess, Colclough (Baningime 79); Hunt.
Subs: Evans, Bruce, Roberts, Plant, Baningime, Downey, Malumo.
Middlesbrough U21: Hemming; Hegarty (Wilson 73), Reading, McGinley, Cook; Brewitt (C), Liddle, Malley, Soisalo (Armstrong 45), Miller, Johnson (Sylla 68).
Subs: Sylla, Wilson, O'Neill, Armstrong, James.