Head of Education and Welfare Mike Hurn reports back from Denmark.
Denmark Diary – Day 13 Saturday 3rd August, 2013
The players arrived at breakfast well rested and with a look of determination in their faces, it was match day and the last of three games here in Denmark.
The players had approached the game well and all were tucked up in bed at 10pm the night before.
They ate well (as always) ensuring they had all the right foods and fluids.
After breakfast the players had one hour to organise and prepare themselves for the game.
The coach picked us up at 11.15am for the short trip to the Odense Boldklub training ground.
OB had allowed us to play the game on their first team training pitch which is also where their reserves play.
The pitch was big and wide with a slight slope but was in very good condition, again the preparation had been good so it was now about the level of performance in comparison to the previous games.
The game started at a high pace with neither team able to dominate possession.
Latics' defence was aware that the OB wide players would cut in from the flanks and this is exactly how OB scored their first goal (which was arguably offside) on the eighth minute.
A second goal was scored on the 11th minute after Latics' midfield was dispossessed in their own half.
The game then ebbed and flowed with both teams failing to convert good chances with Latics unable to score from open-play or set-pieces.
OB then gave the Latics youngsters a mountain to climb with a well driven goal on 40 minutes after the defence failed to clear their lines.
In the second half OB made several chances, taking off some of their international players and the game seemed to drop in tempo as the temperature began to increase.
An early mix-up between the centre half pairing and the goalkeeper from a direct ball over the defence meant the OB striker was able to muscle in for a header from the edge of the area to make it 4-0.
On a positive note, the players never showed any signs of despondency and were rewarded for their efforts in the seventieth minute when Matty Hamilton finished off a flowing move from defence to attack with a delicate finish from ten yards out.
The game ended 4-1 with many of Latics' players looking exhausted after an intense five weeks of pre-season including the last two weeks in Denmark.
OB is a fantastic club and we all hope our players get the same opportunity again in the future.
We thanked the OB staff for their support and hospitality throughout the two weeks and made our way onto the coach for a much needed lunch and the short trip back to the hotel.
The players will now look forward to a couple of days rest before preparing for their first game of the season (away to Port Vale) next Saturday.
While the first team were kicking off the new season and winning 4-0 against Barnsley the afternoon was a time for the tired youth team players (and staff!!) to rest and recover.
The evening meal was far more positive than expected with a lot of talk about the first team result and the prospects for the season.
After the meal each player and member of staff had to stand up in front of the group and give their personal favourite moment from the trip and the reason for it.
We had a wide variety of answers given ranging from the goal we scored today, the visit to the hospital last week, coaching at the local soccer school, the cultural tour of Odense, being together as a group for two weeks, the theme park, and some personal pranks.
It was great to here the individual thoughts and memories of the trip and its satisfying to know that everyone has gained a lot from the experience.
Tomorrow is the final day of our two week trip to Denmark. It has been a fantastic experience for all involved but some tired bodies and minds are looking forward to returning to the UK and sunny Wigan.
One more sleep!!
Head of Education & Welfare.