Victor Maffeo’s late equaliser earns EFL Youth Alliance Champions Latics a share of the spoils against Wrexham at Stanstead Park.
- U18 EFL Youth Alliance Report: Wrexham FC 2-2 Wigan Athletic.
- Victor Maffeo and Brad Roberts earn Latics a point against Wrexham.
- Draw takes EFL Youth Alliance Champions Latics up to 59 points.
WREXHAM FC 2
Robinson-Murray 15, 45
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Maffeo (P) 84
After a memorable week in which Latics Under 18s secured the treble after beating Exeter City in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup Final, Latics equalised twice at Wrexham to earn a point on Saturday morning in bitterly cold conditions.
Brad Roberts and Victor Maffeo goals were enough for Latics to earn a spirited point, with the latter scoring a late penalty after the hosts took the lead twice in an eventful first-half.
Latics made seven changes following their 2-0 victory over Exeter City on Tuesday night, which saw Peter Murphy’s side crowned EFL Youth Alliance Cup champions, securing the treble in an unprecedented campaign.
Louis Isherwood, Roberts and Ollie Broe all came into the defence for Latics, whilst Joe McWilliam and Neil Monaghan formed a new-look midfield on Saturday afternoon.
There were also places on the bench for new scholars Harry McGee, James Carragher and Kieran Lloyd, who will all join the Under 18s set up for the 2019-20 campaign.
Under 18s top goal scorer Charlie Jolley was amongst the absentees for Latics with the forward set to feature in the first team squad on Sunday against Millwall. Whilst Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir, both featured in England Under-17’s 1-1 draw against France on Friday evening.
Latics appeared to set-up in a 4-2-3-1 with Maffeo, Mackenzie O’Neil and Ryan Galvin providing the service for Kyle Joseph up front, with Harry Jolley slotting alongside Isherwood at centre back.
Despite Latics having the majority of the ball early on it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on 15 minutes. They capitalised on an error at the back and Robinson-Murray was on-hand to fire his low effort past the reach of Sam Tickle.
As is expected this season, Latics were on the front foot and came within inches of getting back on level terms on 20 minutes. Monaghan’s inviting free-kick was met by a towering header by Jolley at the back-post, but his effort bounced back off the bar with the goalkeeper beaten.
Latics continued to have the better chances in a cagey first half at Stanstead Park. Monaghan’s corner was met by Jolley once again, but the defender failed to keep his header on target after he was left unmarked in the box.
Murphy’s side continued to have the upper-hand in the first half and their pressure eventually paid dividends. Monaghan’s corner was cleared only to as far as Roberts on the edge of the box and his left-footed effort found the back of the net for the equaliser.
However, the visitors’ celebrations were short-lived as Wrexham restored their lead on the stroke of half time much to Latics’ frustration. McGregor’s curling effort was superbly saved by Tickle, though Robinson-Murray reacted first to dispatch the rebound and grab his second of the game.
Wrexham produced a resolute performance in the second-half as Latics searched for an equaliser. The hosts almost doubled their advantage on 68 minutes as Thorn’s goal-bound effort was well blocked before McGregor failed to keep his effort down after being picked out by Robinson-Murray.
Latics came within inches of getting back on level terms for the second time in the game with just under 15 minutes remaining. Maffeo’s cross from the right-hand side picked out Joseph, though the forward glanced his header just wide.
Carragher and McGee both came on for Latics in their pursuit of an equaliser and the visitors got their reward on 84 minutes. Wrexham’s captain was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box with the referee pointing to the spot. Maffeo stepped up to rifle the ball into the net from 12 yards out.
The hosts had the chance to take all three points as substitute Jones got the better of Carragher and Isherwood, though Tickle was on hand to deny the forward after making a point-blank save.
Lloyd was also introduced and the midfielder almost made a telling impact on his second appearance for the Under 18s as his cross almost found Joseph at the back-post, albeit some good defending from the hosts denied the forward.
Despite both teams throwing the jugular at the cause late on, a spirited performance from a young Latics side earned them a hard-fought point, taking their points tally to 59 ahead of the season finale against Rochdale on Tuesday at Christopher Park.
Latics: Tickle, Broe, Roberts, H. Jolley (Carragher 82), Isherwood, McWilliam, O’Neil (Lloyd 88), Monaghan (McGee 81), Joseph, Maffeo (c), Galvin (Robinson 72)
Unused Subs: Jones