Latics out of FA Youth Cup after defeat to Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium
STEVENAGE UNDER 18s 2
McCall 54 (pen)
WIGAN ATHLETIC UNDER 18s 1
Wigan Athletic battled hard but, were edged out of a high tempo game by a second half penalty from Spencer McCall after Bradley Anderson leveled for Latics before half time following the hosts' opener early on.
John Doolan's team relished the challenge of playing in a League One stadium as around 200 watched on.
Stevenage came straight out of the blocks with their direct approach to the game and with a spell of consecutive corners they made their pressure pay off.
On 11 minutes it was the eventually penalty taker who curled in a corner from the left for Joseph N'Guessan to head in at the front post.
As the first half progressed Latics found their rhythm and started to play in the style that has seen them unbeaten in the Professional Development League for the last three games.
Their first real chance came on the half our mark when a clearance from Stevenage was headed back over the top of their defence by Latics centre back Andy Mason.
Omar Thompson ran onto the header as he battled with Stevenage defenders, the ball was cleared but, only as far as Anderson who lashed a right footed shot and cracked the ball against the post.
Latics started to put heavy pressure on the Stevenage back line and the warning signs were there for the hosts who had Fejiri Okenabirhie fluff his lines in a dangerous position only for his fellow defender George Allen to clear the ball over the main stand and out of the stadium.
Minutes later and another mistake came from the defence when a pass back to Stevenage goalkeeper Keval Patel went wayward and out for a corner.
From the corner came the equaliser.
The precise flight of the ball from Joel Kerwin picked out Anderson unmarked on the six yard box, he rose above the defence and powered his header past Patel.
Latics were going towards the second half with real momentum and could have been 2-1 up before the break when some questionable goalkeeping by Patel from a cross was almost turned in by Thompson during a six yard box scramble.
The action cooled in the second half but, only after Stevenage regained their lead when Jamie Gibson was judged to have tripped Jhai Dhillon in the box.
Despite protests from Latics the referee pointed to the spot and McCall did the honours sending Calvin Hare the wrong way.
Moments later came Latics' best chance to get on level terms again when Ryan Meadows' cross to the front post saw Thompson challenge and beat the goalkeeper, only to see the ball hacked off the line at the last moment.
Stevenage made it hard for Latics to maintain their rhythm and possession became scrappy in midfield as the final whistle drew near.
A late charge in the five additional minutes wasn't enough to push the game to extra time as the hosts held on for the win.
Stevenage: Patel, Carey-Morrell, Ekpiteta, Allen, Dhillon, Gordon, Towner, N'Guessan (Udoh 90+4), Pitharas (Hartley 45), McCall
Unused subs: Porcelli, Cathline, Josephs
Latics: Hare, Gibson, Johnstone, Wilson, Mason, Ainscough (Christian 89), Kerwin (Hamilton 81), Meadows, Thompson, Johnson, Anderson (Jennings 89)
Unused subs: Cottrill, Leigh