Latics battle from behind to record strong opening day victory at local rivals Preston North End.
- U18 Match Report: Preston North End 2 Latics 4.
- Brad Roberts, Victor Maffeo, Adam Long and Divin Baningime all on target.
- Latics come back from behind to record opening day win in the EFL Youth Alliance.
PRESTON NORTH END 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC 4
Maffeo 42 (pen)
Latics made the perfect start to their 2018/19 EFL Youth Alliance campaign, coming from behind to secure an opening day victory against local rivals Preston North End at Saturday lunch time.
Brad Roberts had Latics ahead early on, before Darren Brannigan and Tyrhys Dolan turned the tables in Preston North End's favour. Victor Maffeo's penalty shortly before half time had Latics level, leading to Adam Long and Divin Baningime's second half efforts to seal the victory.
Latics went into the game off the back of a 3-3 draw in their final pre-season friendly with Norwegian side Fredrikstad hoping to make it 12 games unbeaten in the Youth Alliance, a run which stretches well back into last season.
Roberts gave his side great hope of the achievement just six minutes into the contest in Lancashire, arriving in the area to follow in the Preston goalkeeper's parry following good pressure from Baningime off Maffeo's cross.
The lead lasted just nine minutes before Brannigan tapped home from a cross at close range, with Dolan pushing the hosts ahead when he finished unmarked in the area... Roberts inches away from making a goal line clearance.
Latics' equaliser couldn't have come at a better time with only three minutes left on the clock in the first half. The build-up was patient, with captain Scott Smith finding Baningime, but when Joe Gelhardt received the final pass in the area he was sent tumbling to the ground and was awarded a penalty, which Maffeo confidently converted for 2-2.
Centre back Long reclaimed the lead for Latics shortly after the hour mark when he chested down Roberts' free kick into the area and turned the ball in with a striker-esque volley.
Baningime made sure of the points with 20 minutes remaining, Roberts again involved in the build-up by beating a man on the left side to cross for his team mate who beat the keeper at the near post to turn the ball in for 4-2.
Latics: Jones, Maffeo, Roberts, Obi, Long, Smith, Culshaw (Robinson 63), Weir, C.Jolley (Joseph 85), Gelhardt, Baningime (McGuffie 73)
Unused subs: H.Jolley, O'Neil