Joey Johnson volley ensures win as Latics make it seven games unbeaten.WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
FLEETWOOD TOWN 0
FLEETWOOD TOWN 0
Joey Johnson opportunistic but perfectly executed chest and volley gave Latics a crucial victory in the Youth Alliance, as they extended their unbeaten run to six games in the league and seven in all competitions, against a Fleetwood Town side that started brightly with a series of half chances.
Latics dug deep to defend out their lead, with Johnson coming close again later on and goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin forcing a one-on-one over the bar on 80 minutes to keep his side in the lead.
John Doolan and Joe Parkinson had the luxury of using goal scorer and Under 21 regular Johnson, as he came back to the side which he impressed with last season, with Jordan Flores continuing his return to action the centre of midfield.
It was a cold, blustery and rainy morning at Robin Park Arena, but Latics started the opening 10 minutes well as Matty Hamilton and Johnson linked up.
Fleetwood began to take the initiative though in 20 minute period which saw them flash over on a number of occasions.
Lloyd Bannister created Latics' best chance of the first half with a driving run down the right wing and a strong cross which forced the Fleetwood centre half to turn it inches behind his own post.
The half time team talk visibly worked for Latics as they came out with bite and produced an all action start with Mayowa Balogun putting a diving header just wide at the back post from a well delivered Flores corner.
Latics began to surge through the middle with Flores and Declan Poole, but it was Johnson just in behind striker Hamilton who proved the difference.
A free kick 30 yards out was struck ambitiously by the goal scorer, but sailed over the cross bar.
The Fleetwood goalkeeper then tried to restart play quickly, but his clearance held up in the wind and gave Johnson the perfect chance to chest the ball down, allow a settled bounce and then fire the ball from 25 yards over the 'keepers head and into the top right corner.
With the game swinging in Latics' favour, Hamilton then had a close range shot deflected over as it looked to be heading in.
Ten minutes remained when Yusuf Mersin was called upon for his first testing save of the match, when Fleetwood broke down the right hand side, but quick off his line, Mersin stood strong to flick the shot over his cross bar with his foot.
Two minutes later Johnson could have grabbed his second of the match and put the game beyond doubt when his close control on the edge of the area allowed him space to shoot, but the ball dragged just wide of the foot of the right post.
Latics saw out the remaining eight minutes with relative ease as they pressed well to dispossess Fleetwood's attempts to grab an equaliser.
Latics: Mersin, Burke, McNally, Harrison, Anson, Poole, Flores, Bannister (Carey 83), Balogun, Johnson, Hamilton