Third goal-fest of the season between Latics and Wrexham ends in defeat.
- Latics beaten 4-2 by Wrexham at Robin Park.
- Flores and Cosgrove on target after early Caton opener for visitors.
- Hendry sending off followed by Cartwright, Cofie and Gray goals.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Another drama and goal-filled match between Wigan Athletic and Wrexham took place in the Final Third Development League West earlier today (Tuesday), with Latics on the receiving end of a 4-2 defeat, following two previous 4-3 victories over their visitors.
From the first until the last minute the action entertained, Wrexham taking the lead after just seconds through James Caton's long range effort, before Jordan Flores' stunning first time drive levelled the score 16 minutes in. Sam Cosgrove proceeded to give Latics the lead with a similarly powerful goal, just moments after Louis Robles had hit the outside of the post from the penalty spot, following a handball on the line.
At 2-1 up, Latics were dealt a huge blow when the dominant Jack Hendry was sent off for a second bookable offence just inside the hour, with Wrexham taking advantage thanks to goals from Iwan Cartwright, John Cofie and James Gray.
Defeat for Latics on a rain soaked afternoon at Robin Park Arena, sees them slip into third place, with two games in hand over now second place Wrexham.
Latics, who had first team squad members, Andy Kellett, Sean Murray, Flores and Hendry at their disposal, were seemingly slow off the mark inside the first minute, when Caton was allowed to shoot from distance, the ball bouncing in front of goalkeeper Owen Evans and skimming off the turf into the bottom right corner.
Peter Atherton's side began to dominate straight after the early shock though, with Luke Burke's header from a corner narrowly missing the top left, followed by a near miss from Robles who diverted Flores' cross from the left just wide of the right post.
Moments later Flores turned in the equaliser with a fine strike from the edge of the box, hitting his left footed effort first time after a flowing team move, bending it beyond Liam Sharp in the Wrexham goal.
As the game edged towards the half an hour mark, both sides had their chances. First Evans denied Gray from point-blank distance, before Robles' shot squeezed past the keeper, but was caught up on the sodden ground.
Hendry was shown is first yellow card just after the 30-minute mark, a strong and last-ditch challenge on Gray earning him the caution.
Latics continued to impose themselves through the driving rain at Robin Park, but couldn't find a way through before the break.
Pushing from the restart, Latics were soon in front for the first time in the match, but not after a moment of controversy which saw Joel Logan handball on the line to prevent Danny O'Brien's corner from going straight in at the left post.
Logan remained on the pitch without so much as a yellow card and to make things worse for Latics, Robles' penalty skimmed the outside of the post and went wide.
It was a missed opportunity, but not for long, as the ball fell to Cosgrove on the edge of the area during an immediate attack from the goal kick, with the forward slamming the ball into the right corner for 2-1.
Just three minutes later the game took yet another twist, Hendry caught in possession and scrambling to stop Caton from wriggling into the box, the central defender grabbed a handful of his opponents shirt and was sent off for a second yellow card.
After an initial bounce-back to the dismissal, Latics were forced to dig in at the back for the first considerable period of the match and with a body missing to close down, Cartwright was given space from 20 yards to drive the ball into the left corner for the equaliser in the 73rd minute.
It was almost 3-2 moments later, Ross White heading a corner just wide of the left post.
Latics continued to push for all three points, with Murray driving forward from midfield, and O'Brien offering an outlet wide on the right, but they found themselves behind with less than three minutes to play. A corner from the right was delivered high into the box, with Evans only able to get his fingertips to the ball as it dropped for Cofie to finish at close range for 3-2.
The perfect response was missing by inches from the restart, with Murray once again making a strong run forward, before a vicious drive fizzed over the cross bar, only for Wrexham to add a fourth in the 90th minute to seal the game. Gray earned his goal by remaining alert in the box, latching onto the end of Salvin Kisitu's deflected cross from the right side.
Alas, a brave fight from Latics' remaining 10 players wasn't enough to hold off the visitors.
Latics: Evans, O'Brien, Kellett (Lingard 84), Purzycki, Anson, Hendry, Murray, Flores (Lang 84), Cosgrove, Robles, Burke
Unused Subs: Roberts, Rimmer, Sang
Wrexham: Sharp, Walsh, Cook, White, Simpson, Cartwright, Logan (Kisitu 67), Caton, Jackson, Gray, Cofie
Unused Subs: Wooland, Williams, Smith