Pre-season draws to a close in dramatic goal fest
EVERTON UNDER 18S .................3
Long 88 (pen)
WIGAN ATHLETIC UNDER 18S ....3
Johnson 60, 82
Victory just slipped out of the clutches of Wigan Athletic's Under 18s as a hard fought and entertaining game of football ended with a late equaliser from the spot by Everton.
A game that finished 0-0 at half time despite an Everton penalty miss, burst into life in the second half as the lead was batted backwards and forwards with goals for Latics from Ryan Meadows and a Joey Johnson double.
As is the theme for Latics' pre-season, the game started with well controlled possession of the ball and a positive outlook on the game.
There was a bump in the road before half time though when Everton won a debatable penalty but, step up Michael Cottrill as the hero for Latics with a fine save from Connor Grant.
If the drama of a penalty save wasn't enough, the drama picked up in the second half.
Everton took the lead just 10 minutes after the break as Harry Charsley finished off a cut back from the right hand side by Chris Long.
Just five minutes later though, Latics pre-season top goalscorer Johnson levelled the scores when he scrambled the ball over the Everton line during a melee in the box.
The home side were ahead once again when Long was provider from the right but this time it was Gethin Jones who hammered home into the inside of the post.
Latics weren't going to let the momentum of Everton hinder them though and when Ryan Meadows smashed home a volley from the penalty spot it was game on.
Just eight minutes after the second equaliser, it was time for Latics to pounce on the counter when Omar Thompson picked the ball up on the edge of his own box from an Everton corner and spotted Johnson free on the half way line.
The ball was pin-point accurate and gave Johnson space to run into.
His composure showed through as he beat the keeper, hit the post and finished off the rebound.
With the time ticking away, Latics were almost over the line with the perfect way to finish off a progressive pre-season campaign but, Everton had something to say about that.
Two minutes remained when another penalty was awarded to the Toffees for what seemed like a foul on the edge of the area rather than inside.
Nonetheless, it was Long who stepped up to stroke it home despite Cottrill almost saving as he guessed the right way.
Despite conceding late on and not being able to quite clinch victory, Latics manager John Doolan was proud of his team's efforts.
"We did really well in the first half and I thought we had the better of it.
"The game went to that extra level in the second half and our goals were good too see, I thought we deserved to win all in all.
"It was a great performance against a side who have done really well in recent years, so we can be happy with what happened today."
Everton: Springthorpe, Shannon, Touray, Pennington, Langton, Jones, Molyneux, Grant, Heath (Charsley 45), Waring, Long
Latics: Cottrill, Gibson, Mason, Wilson, Johnstone, Christian, Meadows, Johnson, Kerwin, Anderson, Thompson
Subs: Jenkins, Leigh, Flores, Gibbons, Hamilton, Mather (All subs used in rolling system)