Latics hit Blackpool for six at Christopher Park as they edge ever closer to the EFL Youth Alliance title.
- Academy Report: Latics 6 Blackpool 2.
- Thumping victory moves Latics to within two points of the EFL Youth Alliance title.
- Charlie Jolley scored as Latics won scoring five or more goals for the third consecutive game.
C. Jolley 22, 29
Bange 5, 89
Latics secured another big victory in the EFL Youth Alliance on Saturday afternoon as they cruised past Blackpool to edge ever closer to the title, moving to within two points of the crown.
Goals from MacKenzie O’Neill, Emeka Obi, Charlie Jolley (2), Ryan Galvin and Jensen Weir secured an impressive victory for Latics, who scored five goals or more for the third consecutive game running.
Latics made four changes following their 5-0 win over Morecambe last time out. O’Neill returned to the side after featuring for Northern Ireland on youth international duty, replacing Mitchell Culshaw.
Harry Jolley came into Latics’ defence for Ollie Broe, whilst England youth international Weir returned to Peter Murphy’s side, along with Jolley who replaced Kyle Joseph up-front.
Latics made the perfect start to the game, opening the scoring inside the first minute at Christopher Park.
O’Neill picked the ball up and ran at the heart of the Blackpool defence, eventually finding Gelhardt in space on the left-hand side, with the England youth international’s effort being saved before O’Neill’s rebound beat the Blackpool goalkeeper.
The visitors responded and grabbed their equaliser on five minutes. Emile Jaskelainen’s pass found Ewan Bange, who danced past the evading challenge before firing his low effort past Bobby Jones.
Latics threatened to re-take the lead just minutes later, Galvin’s low cross picked out O’Neill in the box, with the latter’s effort well saved before Gelhardt’s well-struck rebound was blocked by a Blackpool defender.
The hosts eventually went back in front just before the 20th minute mark. Weir’s inviting corner was met by Obi, with the defender powering his header past Blackpool goalkeeper, Harvey Simson to put Latics back in control.
Latics were dominant and doubled their lead in an entertaining first-half when Victor Maffeo picked up a loose ball in midfield and found Jolley in-behind the Tangerines' defence, before cutting inside and firing his left-footed under Simson for Latics’ third.
Latics added their fourth on the half hour mark, Will McGuffie was allowed space to run forward with the ball, before finding O’Neill whose attempted cross deflected into the path of Jolley, who instinctively curled the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Blackpool threatened to cut the deficit just before the break, Bange controlled well and found Tony Weston just inside the area, but the latter’s effort was comfortably gathered by Jones.
Latics were in cruise control and added their fifth goal with five minutes before the interval.
Galvin intercepted a ball and got into his stride before firing a left-footed effort from 25 yards into the bottom corner, with the left-back scoring his first goal of the campaign.
Latics nearly added their sixth with just over 20 minutes to go as substitutes Scott Smith and Scotland youth international Joseph combined on the counter-attack, with the latter’s effort tipped around the post from a tight angle.
The hosts did eventually grab their sixth with just over ten minutes remaining. Joseph latched onto Gelhardt’s ball in-behind the defence and was composed enough to find Weir, who calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper from ten yards out.
The Tangerines grabbed a consolation goal with little time remaining as Bange grabbed his second of the game, slotting in from Sean Graham’s corner.
Latics secured another three points but will have to wait until Tuesday for their next chance to wrap up the title when they face Bury FC at Christopher Park, with Rochdale clinging on in second place after a 5-3 win against Accrington Stanley.
Latics: Jones, H. Jolley, Obi, Long, Galvin, Weir, McGuffie ( Robinson 60), O’Neil (Joseph 67), Gelhardt, Maffeo (Smith 45), C. Jolley (Berry 60)