Latics’ remarkable unbeaten run comes to an end as Preston North End claim the bragging rights in local derby on Saturday afternoon.
- U18 EFL Youth Alliance Report: Wigan Athletic 1 Preston North End 2
- Latics fall to first league defeat of the season against Lancashire rivals
- Hosts presented with the EFL Youth Alliance trophy at Christopher Park
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Berry (P) 36
PRESTON NORTH END 2
Wigan Athletic’s remarkable 22-game league unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday afternoon following defeat to local rivals, Preston North End.
The visitors came from behind after James Berry gave Latics the lead in the 36th minute from 12 yards out.
Latics made two changes following on from their EFL Youth Alliance title-winning match against Bury.
Louis Isherwood came into defence in the place of Emeka Obi and Jensen Weir came back into the midfield, replacing Will McGuffie.
In bright but blustery conditions at Christopher Park, Latics’ young charges were full of confidence following being crowned Youth Alliance Champions on Tuesday.
Despite a cagey opening 20 minutes, Latics fashioned the first chance of the game as Victor Maffeo’s cross from the right-hand side was cleared only to the path of Scott Smith, but the captain’s well-struck effort was gathered by the Preston North End goalkeeper.
Latics continued to look for the breakthrough in the first-half, with Berry being the man to open the scoring. Kyle Joseph was brought down in the penalty area and Berry stepped up to dispatch the penalty kick emphatically.
The hosts looked commanding and nearly inflicted further damage on their local rivals five minutes before half-time.
Ryan Galvin’s inspired run from left-back opened up space behind the Preston midfield before finding Joseph, who cut inside before his right-footed effort was well saved.
The visitors had their own chance ten minutes into the second half, Dolan’s pass found Brannigan in the area, but the forward’s left-footed effort was straight at Latics’ goalkeeper Bobby Jones.
Preston equalised on the 70th minute to set up a fierce last 20 minutes in the Lancashire derby.
Walker’s corner was cleared only as far as O’Reilly, who struck a left-footed volley past the reach of Jones to put the visitors on level terms at Christopher Park.
The visitors took the lead as Latics were hard done by with less than ten minutes to go. Substitute Potts flicked the ball past Jones after it ricocheted into his path from five yards out.
Latics continued to put the pressure on the visitors in their pursuit of an equaliser, substitute Joe Gelhardt’s ball found Joseph in-behind, but the forward was somehow denied by Corcoran from point-blank range.
Despite Latics coming close on several occasions, the visitors weathered the storm to take all three points from the Lancashire derby.
Though, with the result a disappointing one, Latics were recognised for their outstanding season on a whole after they were confirmed EFL Youth Alliance Champions on Tuesday.
All the players and staff across the academy were awarded with medals and the 2018-19 Youth Alliance trophy, which was fully deserved.
Latics are next in action against Preston again on 20 April in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup Final at Lancashire FA, Leyland.
Latics: Jones, Maffeo, Isherwood, Long, Galvin (Robinson 72), Smith (c), Weir (McGuffie 80), Culshaw (Broe 82), Berry (Gelhardt 72), O’Neil (Aasgaard 72), Joseph