Sang on target to send Latics into second place after win over Preston.
- Latics 1 Preston 0 in the Football League Youth Alliance.
- Under 18s up into second place after second half Sang goal.
- Latics keep fifth consecutive clean sheet and make it 11 games unbeaten.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
PRESTON NORTH END 0
Latics sent themselves into second place in the Youth Alliance this morning, following a 1-0 victory over local rivals Preston North End, with Chris Sang's 72nd minute strike ensuring a seventh straight victory in all competitions.
A strong performance in the driving rain and swirling wind at Robin Park Arena saw Latics 11 unbeaten in all competitions, and with a tight defensive display, Will Ryder's side kept their fifth straight clean sheet.
Sang's goal came in the final quarter of the game, with the conditions making it tough for both sides to really get going.
Elsewhere in the division it was first versus second, with leaders at the start of the day Walsall losing 3-2 to Bury, leaving the Shakers on top of the Youth Alliance, just a point ahead of now second place Latics.
The action at Robin Park was limited with a loose pitch, but Latics did manage to muster a number of half chances, only to be left frustrated by the bounce of the ball when forward passes from Luke Burgess and Matty Rimmer looked to be heading straight into the path of Sang.
A number of stoppages in play for injuries broke the flow of the game up, but Latics' captain Luke Burke was kept on his toes, sprinting back to recover with a sliding challenge to deny a clear cut opportunity for Preston forward Creech.
Latics started the second half quickly, pinning Preston back in the opening five minutes, with Callum Lang's tight-angled effort fired narrowly wide, before Burke's flicked header trickled past the left post.
Lang hit the side netting a second time shortly after, before it became end-to-end, with Preston substitute Lunney forcing a reaction save from Kelland Absalom, Sang then denied one-v-one from the keeper's clearance.
Pushing themselves into control of the game, Latics soon tested Preston keeper Roberts once more, this time Alex Lingard's ferocious effort was tipped behind for a corner just before the hour mark.
Latics introduced Nathan Randell in the 72nd minute, adding an extra body up front.
Two minutes later Sang broke the deadlock. Lingard's in-swinging corner was attacked by Burke, and with Preston unable to clear their lines, Sang pounced to bundle the ball home through a crowd of bodies.
Randell's involvement in the final 10 minutes caused Preston a number of problems, the forward twice beating the left full back to combine a cross with a shot, narrowly missing out on doubling Latics' lead. The forward's energy certainly helped, but an over-zealous challenge saw him yellow carded just five minutes after being introduced.
Latics could have made it 2-0 and settled the game with six minutes remaining, Lang beating the final defender with a clever poke around him, but in rounding the keeper who took the ball too far wide with the chance eventually snuffed out.
In the final moments Randell beat his man again, this time standing the ball up to the back post for Chris Merrie who teed up Lang from the by-line, but the forward's effort was once again turned away by Roberts.
Latics: Absalom, Baxendale, Lingard, Merrie, Burke, Stubbs, Fitton (Beaumont 46), Burgess, Sang, Lang, Rimmer (Randell 72)
Unused Subs: T.Roberts, White, Powell
Preston: C.Roberts, Tait, James-Robinson, Jagne (Meulensteen 64), B.Roberts, Burgoyne, Barry (Davidson 70), Boyd, Tracey, Creech, Earl (Lunney 32)
Unused subs: Kwateng, Cottam