Latics youngsters edged out in end-to-end encounter
WIGAN ATHLETIC U18 3
Thompson 30, 84
LEEDS UNITED U18 4
Walters 37, 52, 61
Despite commanding possession in large spells of the game, Latics were caught out by counter attacking goals in a game that saw Leeds striker Lewis Walters net a hat trick and Latics’ Omar Thompson score a brace.
John Doolan made slight adjustments from the last minute defeat to Coventry City last weekend, with most notably Jordan Flores who put in a good performance out wide.
After just seven minutes of the game Latics fell behind and it was Leeds’ number nine Luke Parkin who struck home from just inside the area after Latics failed to clear an attack from the away side.
Latics shook out the cobwebs after that though and greatly improved with full back Bram Johnstone looking a very dangerous outlet on the left hand side.
On 24 minutes it was Johnstone who provided a superb ball into the box towards Thompson but, the striker misjudged the flight of the ball and it fell to Matthew Hamilton who had his shot saved at the back post.
Just six minutes later it was Thompson that pulled the home side level.
It was a typical attack from Latics who had centre back Michael Wilson marauding forward with the ball before Ryan Meadows and Flores played a clever one-two near the half way line.
It was passed out wide to Thompson on the left who took it upon himself to go alone, he ran and ran across the pitch and then let rip from 20 yards out, seeing his drilled shot fire past goalkeeper Brad Dixon and into the bottom corner.
Latics couldn’t keep it level for long though as the first of Walters’ three goals came when he cut in from the right beating Wilson and looped a left footed shot into the top corner and beyond Calvin Hare.
Two minutes later though and Latics showed great character to level the game when Jamie Gibson’s free kick out wide on the right was steered in by Hamilton’s glanced header.
It was 2-2 at half time and just after the interval Leeds almost made it 3-2 but a superb save from Latics ‘keeper Hare prevented Alex Purver from bending his shot into the bottom corner.
Leeds did make it 3-2 just minutes later though when Smith Tiesse’s curling cross from the left flew past two defenders and Walters tapped in his second at the back post despite Hare nearly saving.
Just after the hour mark Walters completed his hat trick to take it to 4-2 when he started a counter attack himself, sending Chris Dawson on his way down the right before Walters finished off the move with another goal at the back post.
Latics knew they had to work hard to claw it back and so they did with multiple chances going into full time.
Substitutes Bradley Anderson and Joel Kerwin linked up when the former was teed up but blasted a volley into the side netting.
A minute later and Kerwin’s floated free kick from the left caused a scramble in the box but, neither Anderson or Thompson could finish the ball and eventually a corner was awarded.
From the resulting corner Patrick Christian curled in a great cross which was headed down by Meadows at the back post and finished off by Thompson for his second of the game.
With just six minutes to go time was running out and the only other effort on goal came from Kerwin who tried his luck from range and stung the ‘keepers gloves.
Latics will feel hard done by with the result but the speed of Leeds’ counter attacks was too much.
Latics: Hare, Gibson, Johnstone, Ainscough (Christian 60), Wilson, Mason, Flores (Kerwin 53), Meadows, Thompson, Jennings, Hamilton (Anderson 69)
Unused Subs: Leigh, Gibbons
Leeds: Dixon, Coyle, Tiesse, Purver, Coker, Skelton, Denton (Roper 75), Mowatt, Parkin (Amiri 85), Walters (Stokes 80), Dawson