Latics edged out despite dominant display in behind closed doors friendly
MANCHESTER UNITED UNDER 21S 1
WIGAN ATHLETIC UNDER 21S 0
Larnell Cole was the man on the score sheet as he scored against the run of play on 32 minutes with what turned out to be the deciding goal.
The friendly staged at The Cliff, former training ground of Manchester United’s first team provided a solid run out for each member of the Under 21 squad, with the second half a particularly pleasing performance.
Latics were hot out of the blocks and quick to close United in with some fast build-up play early on.
Steve Boothman and Callum Morris looked dangerous down the wings with the latter carving out the first chance of the game with a shot wide on four minutes.
United’s expensive winger Bebe was on show but failed to prove a danger for Graham Barrow’s side, the closest he came was a header just over in the opening stages.
Latics tried to force the issue as they reached the half an hour with Josh Sumner curling a free kick over the cross bar.
Just as they looked to be taking the upper hand when Danny Redmond dragged a shot wide after progressive build-up play, United capitalised with a touch of good fortune.
The home side advanced towards goal as the ball was miscontrolled on the edge of the area by members of both sides.
As Latics attempted to clear, Cole stepped in to steal the ball from the crowd of players and with a swift touch to his left he opened up a chance and struck the ball beyond the goalkeeper.
It could have been 2-0 just before half time but excellent defending from Jonathan Lynch kept Cole out as he looked to double his tally.
A misjudged flight of the ball from a cross down the left drifted over the ‘keeper but Lynch was quick to react at the back post as he slid in to tackle when it looked like Cole would tuck it away.
The changes were plenty at half time with six making way.
It was the fresh legs that gave Latics their dominance in the second half, with Josh Langley turning in a solid performance at the back with Adam Buxton who was returning from injury.
Just four minutes in to the second half substitute Ryan Watson tested the ‘keeper with a drive from range as Latics looked lively.
Three minute later Abubakar Sheego had the ball in the back of the net when Latics countered and Boothman slipped him in but, the linesman flagged for offside an the goal didn’t stand.
The United ‘keeper had barely got his clearance away when Sheego got another chance, this time his shot from the edge of the area went just wide under pressure from the defender.
Under 18 wide man Joel Kerwin came on at the hour mark and turned in a positive performance as he put his strength and high work ethic to good use down the right.
The best chance of the second half fell to Kerwin with just nine minutes to play.
Latics hit United on the counter attack with Peter Aylmer breaking up the play and spreading the ball wide to Kerwin, he spotted the keeper in a poor position with the goal gaping and from range hit a fierce drive that forced a diving save.
Jack Phillips made an appearance with 20 minutes to go and impressed with his close control and ability to spot and thread the perfect pass.
All in all it was a solid run-out from the Under 21s and the return of Buxton from injury was a particular highlight.
Latics team: Trialist, Morris (Kerwin 61) , Kiernan (Langley 45), McCormack, Lynch, Boothman (Phillips 70), Sumner (Buxton 45), Chow (Aylmer 45), Redmond (Watson 45), Andres (Orsula 45), Bingham (Sheego 45)