Latics knocked off top spot after defeat away to Shrewsbury.
- Latics go down to experienced Shrewsbury 4-0.
- Three first half goals from Vernon, Akpa Akpro and Grandison.
- Port Vale go top after win at Tranmere Rovers.
SHREWSBURY TOWN 4
Akpa Akpro 30
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
Latics lost their spot at the top of the Final Third Development League West this afternoon, after a 4-0 defeat away to Shrewsbury Town was coupled with Port Vale's 2-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers.
Three first half goals from the hosts put Latics in a difficult situation for the second half, with Scott Vernon, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Jermaine Grandison on target. Latics tightened up in the second half and look relatively comfortable, until substitute Ethan Jones added a fourth goal in stoppage time.
Latics brought back Fraser Fyvie, Thomas Rogne and Lee Nicholls into the starting XI, with the hosts fielding a strong side, which included plenty of Football League experience with the likes of Vernon, Akpa Akpro, Grandison, Ashley Vincent and Keith Southern.
The opening goal came in unfortunate circumstances for Latics, as Vernon looked to be offside when Jordan Clark bundled the ball into his path at close range down the right, but the referee let the goal stand when Vernon tapped it in.
Ten minutes later Nicholls was alert to deny Vernon his second of the game, rushing out to the feet of the striker to smother his chance inside the box.
Jordan Flores then tested Shrewsbury keeper Mark Halstead, with a low drive from distance forcing the keeper to spill the ball before narrowly recovering. Declan Poole provided the build up, and almost worked a chance for himself when he flicked the ball over Grandison's head on the edge of the box, but was forced to pull it back for Flores under pressure.
On the half hour mark Shrewsbury doubled their lead when Akpa Akpro found space in the box down the left, cutting onto his right and whipping the ball into the top right corner.
Latics looked good in possession during long spells of the game, but struggled to convert it into chances until Luke Burke struck narrowly wide of the left post just before half time.
Moments before the whistle blew for the break, the hosts made it 3-0 as centre back Grandison lost his marker from a corner, peeling to the back post and firing into the top left corner off the post.
Latics began to create chances in the second half as Shrewsbury began to retreat, the first of which saw Joey Johnson denied on the line after some good close control in the area.
Sam Cosgrove and Matty Hamilton struck half chances over the bar, with a bigger chance falling to Flores following some excellent work from Hamilton down the right by-line. Flores could only side foot his effort over as he aimed for the top left corner.
Six minutes from time Cosgrove produced a fine effort from distance, matched by the save of Halstead who tipped his effort wide.
In the second minute of stoppage time Shrewsbury grabbed their fourth goal, when substitute Jones was given space down the right and slotted his shot past Nicholls.
Latics remain in the hunt to retain their FTDL crown, but are currently second and two points behind leaders Port Vale.
Shrewsbury: Halstead, Grogan, Burton, Southern, Grandison, Clark, Trialist, Trialist, Vernon, Akpa Akpro, Vincent
Unused subs: Hickman, Rowley, Fletcher, Watkins
Latics: Nicholls, Burke, McNally (Cvetkovic 63), Fyvie (Purzycki 86), Rogne, Langford, Hamilton, Poole, Cosgrove, Johnson, Flores
Unused subs: Keane, Balogun, Gregory