Latics draw with Morecambe to extend their lead at the top of the EFL Youth Alliance table to ten points.
- Academy Report: Latics extend their lead to ten points at the top of the table with 0-0 draw against Morecambe.
- Charlie Jolley and James Berry come close for the visitors in difficult conditions.
- Latics remain unbeaten in the Youth Alliance this season.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
Latics earned a hard-fought draw with Morecambe on Tuesday afternoon to extend their lead at the top of the EFL Youth Alliance table to ten points.
The stalemate was Latics’ second draw in a matter of days following on from the 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, though, after Rochdale’s 4-3 defeat to Morecambe last-time out, Latics took advantage to extend their lead at the top with nine games remaining.
Latics made four changes from the draw with Tranmere, with Bobby Jones, Jensen Weir, Kyle Joseph and Joe Gelhardt all returning to the side, with the latter scoring a crucial 88th minute equaliser on Saturday in a game that Latics dominated throughout.
Gelhardt provided the support for Charlie Jolley and Joseph in attack, with Latics setting up in their usual but effective 4-1-3-2 formation.
On a day of difficult conditions at Kendal Town's Parkside Road, Latics worked hard as a group against a resilient Morecambe side.
Latics should have opened the scoring through Jolley after a good passage of play, though the forward, who has been amongst the goals this campaign, hit the post with his effort.
Latics continued to push for the breakthrough with a chance for substitute, James Berry, who made an impact from the bench, though his shot was well saved by the Morecambe goalkeeper.
Latics also had chances from two free-kicks, Victor Maffeo’s perfectly placed right-footed effort was magnificently saved by the goalkeeper, before Luke Robinson, who has scored two free-kicks so far this season, was also denied with a curling effort.
Though, on a difficult afternoon for the players, Latics failed to grab all three points but did manage to extend their lead at the top of the table to ten points as they enter the final third of the campaign.
U18 coach Peter Murphy, praised his players following a good performance in very difficult conditions:
“We’ve had a few draws recently but it’s great to be ten points clear at the top of the table, hopefully we can keep that going”, he said.
“It was a difficult pitch to play on, so we had to play much differently to our normal game, but the lads played well.”
Murphy also commented on the improvement of his side’s defensive displays in recent weeks after picking up another clean sheet:
“We defended superbly well in very difficult playing conditions where it is easy to make a mistake.
“A special mention to the back four in particular, but I thought everyone worked hard and it was a good team performance.”
Latics travel to Fleetwood Town on Saturday morning in their next game in the EFL Youth Alliance, before their big game against Bury in the area final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup on Saturday 9 March, with a place in the national final against Exeter City up for grabs.
Latics: Jones, Maffeo, Obi, Long, Robinson, Monaghan, Weir, Baningime, Gelhardt, Joseph, C. Jolley