Latics suffer defeat in the Midlands.
- Latics fall to 3-0 defeat at Walsall.
- Title charge now reliant on Port Vale's final results.
- Latics end defeat with 10 man after Poole red card.
Delaney 15, 70
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
Poole s/o 72
Joe Parkinson’s Development Squad will now have to rely on results elsewhere if they’re to lift the Final Third Development League West title after they were defeated in their final league fixture 3-0 by Walsall at Chasetown FC.
Latics are hoping Port Vale pick up less than four points from their remaining two fixtures if they’re to lift the title as a double from Luke Delaney and a Matt Preston header secured the win for the Saddlers on Tuesday afternoon as Declan Poole was sent off in the second-half for the visitors.
Parkinson made five changes from last week’s crucial 2-1 win against the Valiants with Sean Harrison, Adam Anson, Alex Cvetkovic, Sam Cosgrove and Louis Robles all returning.
Whether it was the pitch, or the circumstance of the game, Latics never really got going and it was a sign of things to come when Delaney delivered to the back post for Kyle Rowley to head into the side-netting, unmarked, at the back post.
Levi Rowley then spurned another Saddlers chance before the hosts took the lead just after the quarter hour as Delaney fired in at the back post from Levi Rowley’s cross.
Walsall doubled their advantage two minutes later as Delaney's volley into the area was headed home by Preston after Latics only half cleared the initial set-piece.
And when Latics created opportunities to get back into the game, they came up against a keeper in superb form in Walsall’s Craig MacGillivray with the former Harrogate stopper down well to deny Robles when he went through one-on-one.
Poole saw an early second-half effort saved by MacGillivray whilst the keeper was fortunate to deflect Cosgrove’s effort wide when the striker slotted through his legs.
Robles fired across goal just after the hour only to be denied again by MacGillivray before Connor Keane was equally vital to his own side, denying Levi Rowley a superb third for the hosts from 25 yards.
Walsall did add a third 20 minutes from time as Delaney’s 20-yard shot bobbled over Keane off the surface.
Minutes after the third, Poole was dismissed for reacting to a foul in midfield, kicking out at his opposite number, leaving the referee with little choice.
Robles saw a couple of further late opportunities saved but Latics couldn’t force a way back into the game and will now need help from the Saddlers who play Vale soon.
Latics: Keane, Harrison, Balogun, Poole, Anson, Chow, Cvetkovic, Johnson, Cosgrove (Gregory 81), Robles, Flores (Baxendale 68)
Unused subs: Evans, Lambert, Barrigan.