Late Sam Cosgrove strike seals place in the final for Peter Atherton’s side at the expense of Rochdale.
Four consecutive wins for under 18s.
Dale fail to muster effort on target at Robin Park Arena.
Tense affair settled by 87th minute Cosgrove strike.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
A late Sam Cosgrove strike ensured Latics’ under-18s progressed to the Lancashire FA Youth Cup final at the expense of Rochdale at Robin Park Arena on Tuesday afternoon.
Cosgrove, who has been involved in the first team setup of late, fired in from close range from Luke Burke’s long throw-in to secure progress three minutes from time after a display of complete control from Peter Atherton’s side.
The result should have been more comfortable but a difficult pitch, some hard luck and a solid goalkeeping display from Dale’s Rhys Lovett meant the tie would be decided in the closing stages.
Latics started the game brightly and should have gone ahead inside the first minute as Liam Lambert’s free header at the back post from Louis Robles’s deep cross went straight at Rhys Lovett.
On five minutes, Robles had a chance of his own as Reece McNally crossed from the left, Cosgrove headed back across goal and Robles attacked in the centre only to hit the bar before Lovett grabbed the rebound.
Latics continued to push for an opener as Robles was again denied by Lovett before Alex Cvetkovic saw his set-piece from the left come back off the bar.
The second-half saw Latics create less and become frustrated with deep and ruthless defending from the visitors as Josh Gregory went closest with a couple of long range efforts.
Ten minutes from time, the game looked to be heading to penalties as Cosgrove spurned a great chance after he turned in the area before firing over when well placed.
But the big frontman made amends, firing in from a similar position after Burke’s long throw-in fell into his path.