Heartbreak for Latics as Blades score late winner.
SHEFFIELD UNITED U21 1
WIGAN ATHLETIC U21 0
A last minute goal from Daniel Philliskirk came between Wigan Athletic and a hard earned point as the Professional Development League Two North campaign restarted after a short winter break.
Graham Barrow had strength in experience of first team squad members Jordan Mustoe and Danny Redmond and also a choice of youth as Under 18 full back Bram Johnstone made his Under 21 debut, with team-mates Ryan Meadows and Joey Johnson on the bench.
It was the third time that this fixture had been attempted this season, after the first was abandoned just half an hour in due to heavy rain and the second postponed again for adverse weather conditions.
Latics and the Blades got the tie underway in typically competitive fashion, with both sides creating chances but failing to test each other’s goalkeepers.
The wing back roles proved a threat all afternoon as Johnstone and Campabadal stretched their legs but, the final finish couldn’t be found.
It was a game that rarely looked to be anything other than a positive for Latics as Marko Marosi proved to be in fine form with a number of solid stops.
In front of the young goalkeeper were Adam Buxton, Callum Morris and Jordan Mustoe who dictated the control of the game to prevent threats from Sheffield United’s front pair of Joe Ironside and Philliskirk.
Winning the game looked more likely as Redmond had a series of solid chances to give the Under21s a vital lead but Marosi opposite number in the form of George Willis prevented Latics’ FA Cup star from scoring.
Latics dominated in possession but couldn’t find an opening and when Marosi made what looked like the final save of the game from a one-on-one with Philliskirk, his side were hit with a sucker punch as the resulting corner found the striker who acrobatically volleyed in for 1-0.
After the game manager Graham Barrow said he was shocked with the score line when his team looked destined to keep the Blades out.
“We only looked like we would win or draw the game, we were unlucky to lose, especially with the fact that last time we came here when the game got abandoned we were 2-0 up.
“For 90 minutes we controlled the ball for long spells and the defence was superb.
“We need to work a little going forward to take advantage of the good build-up play but other than that I’m happy with the performance and we keep advancing in our development.”
Barrow was also impressed by the three Under 18 players selected in the squad.
“Bram (Johnstone) started the game and was very lively down the left side, we also brought on Joey (Johnson) after an hour and he too was effective with his natural movement in the forward areas.
“Ryan (Meadows) probably had the most difficult job because he only came on for ten minutes which is always hard to make an impact in midfield but, he went about his role very well and the experience for all three will be essential.”
Sheff Utd: Willis, Westlake, Kennedy, Barry, McFadzean, Tonne, Whitehouse, Pemberton, Khan, Ironside, Philliskirk
Latics: Marosi, Campabadal, Johnstone (Lynch 70), Buxton, Morris, Mustoe, R,Watson, Chow, Orsula (Meadows 80), Andres (Johnson 60), Redmond
Unused Subs: Hare, Sumner