Stoppage time equaliser prevents back-to-back wins for John Doolan’s Under 18s
WIGAN ATHLETIC 3
Thompson 24, 28
It was a strong first half for Wigan Athletic as they took a 3-1 lead into half time but at the dying embers of the game and in blustery Midlands’ conditions, Birmingham grabbed a late equaliser to level the scores at 3-3.
Omar Thompson was in goal scoring form once again as he scored the first and second, whilst Paddy Christian got on the score sheet for the first time this season.
After the 4-2 victory at home to Sheffield United last weekend, Latics looked confident of repeated a similar outcome but, just 14 minutes in they found themselves behind when they momentarily switched off and allowed the Birmingham winger to slip in between the defence and place his finish home.
Just 10 minutes later and Latics were level with a fine passing move in midfield.
It started in defence and progressed up the pitch before Christian’s pass out wide to Bradley Anderson was threaded through for Omar Thompson who continued up the pitch, lifting the ball over the goalkeeper and placing the ball into an empty net.
The second goal came soon after and Latics took the lead when pressure from right back Danny Leigh paid off.
His eagerness to win the ball led to a defensive mistake that saw Thompson receive it on the right outside the area, he laid it off to Leigh who had continued his run but, saw his shot from a tight angle parried by the keeper.
In came Thompson and the Birmingham defender with the goal gaping and a combination of touches from the two of them saw the ball into the net.
Latics were soon 3-1 up and again it was pressure on the defence that paid dividends.
This time Latics were defending a corner and turned the situation into attack when Anderson’s clearing header feel to Joey Johnson on the edge of his own box and his over-hit pass sent Christian on his way on the half way line.
The central midfielder’s hard running and pressing on the defenders and goalkeeper led the keeper to lose control of the ball to which Christian capitalised, looping the ball over the stranded keeper’s head and then finishing through the eye of a needle as defenders slid in to try and block his shot.
After half time Latics were up against the wind, something which benefited Birmingham when they equalised with 20 minutes to go.
It was picked up in central midfield after pressure wasn’t applied and out of the blue came a scooped, almost poked shot that deceived Michael Cottrill and flew into the top corner.
Latics looked like they were going to hold out for all three points when the referee looked at his watch after five minutes of added time but, a corner was given at the death.
It resulted in a scramble inside the box, which finished with an overhead kick that dropped into the net at the back post in bizarre fashion.
Latics were left deflated but manager John Doolan said he was pleased with the first half score-line and admitted he knows his team can play even better.
“It wasn’t the best we know we can perform in terms of controlling a game.
“Going in at half time 3-1 up was great and I just told the lads to keep pressing and don’t allow them to shoot because of the wind.
“It was a cruel way to finish a game of football but, we now just have to focus on the next game on Saturday against Crewe.”
Latics: Cottrill, Leigh, Johnstone, Gibbons, Wilson, Christian, Ainscough (Mason 80), Gibson, Johnson, Anderson (Hamilton 80), Thompson
Unused Subs: Flores, Meadows, Kerwin