A closer look at how Latics and Barnsley made the Northern Semi-Final.
- Latics to host Barnsley in the JPT Northern Semi-Final this Saturday.
- Barnsley 2-1 winners in each of their three rounds so far.
- Latics scored seven in two matches against Crewe Alexandra and Blackpool.
Ahead of Wigan Athletic's clash with Barnsley in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern Semi-Final on Saturday 5 December at the DW Stadium, we take a closer look at how both teams made it to this stage of the competition.
Latics were one of four teams in the North-West section of the first round draw to be handed a bye, alongside Blackpool, Crewe Alexandra and Fleetwood Town, whereas Barnsley started their campaign on the road at Scunthorpe United in the North-East section.
The Tykes record their first of three straight 2-1 victories in the competition at Glanford Park, with Lewin Nyatanga and Marley Watkins on the score sheet, before a late consolation from Charlie Goode.
Latics entered the competition in entertaining style away to Crewe Alexandra. The 3-2 victory was appropriate for the topsy-turvy style of the first half, with Sanmi Odelusi winning and missing a penalty in the opening minutes of the contest, before the Alex went up the other end to take the lead through Marcus Haber just moments later in the sixth minute.
Jordy Hiwula soon had his first of the competition to equalise with an acrobatic effort four minutes later, but Latics only remained level until the 36th minute, Ryan Colclough taking advantage to give the hosts a 2-1 lead at the break.
Latics began to take control in the second half, creating a number of chances before Hiwula grabbed his second in the 70th minute to pull it to 2-2.
Then came the game's standout moment. Don Cowie, on as a sub and returning from an injury-ridden summer, sparked a counter attack to release Yanic Wildschut (making his first start for the club), who proceeded to drive towards goal from inside his own half, before unleashing a thumping right footed effort from 25 yards to make it 3-2.
The first round fixture saw Jack Hendry make his club debut, with Andy Kellett earning his first start. It was Latics' first Football League Trophy fixture since 12 November 2002, a 1-0 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers.
Over in Yorkshire, Barnsley were on the road themselves, working to come from behind at Bradford City to win 2-1. The Bantams took a 22nd minute lead through Billy Knott, only for Marley Watkins to net his second of the competition on the stroke of half time for the Tykes.
Alfie Mawson proved to be the hero midway through the second half, scoring what turned out to be the winning goal in the close-fought contest.
There was magic in the air and a sense of community spirit at the DW Stadium for the visit of Blackpool, with Chairman, David Sharpe pledging to donate all of the money raised from under 18 ticket sales to Amelia's Lights Fund, set up to raise money to help Amelia Morris' parents, Whitney and Jonathan from Beech Hill, so that they could decorate their house for Amelia who has Tay Sachs disease and is not expected to live much beyond Christmas.
On the pitch, Latics were confident and composed as they made relatively easy work of Neil McDonald's side, sealing a 4-0 victory. Jordy Hiwula opened the scoring with a calm, close range finish inside the 20th minute, before Sean Murray doubled Latics' lead just after the hour mark, his first goal in Latics' colours.
Substitute Yanic Wildschut made an instant impact to power home his second of the competition in the 71st minute, seven before Hiwula netted his second brace of the competition from the penalty spot, making him the joint leading goal scorer, level on four with Millwall's Lee Gregory.
The quarter-final threw up Barnsley first home fixture of the competition and yet another 2-1 victory, this time seeing off York City, despite falling behind for the second round in a row.
Michael Coulson gave the Minstermen the lead just before half time with a sensational free kick, but the Tykes kept their Wembley dreams alive in the second half, thanks to goals from Ben Pearson and an 83rd minute winner from Adam Hammill.
Tuesday 8 December
Northern Section - Fleetwood Town v Morecambe, 7.45pm
Southern Section - Oxford United v Yeovil Town, 7.45pm / Southend United v Millwall, 7.45pm