Latics up to third in Youth Alliance after third consecutive victory.
- Latics win 1-0 v Tranmere in tough conditions at Christopher Park.
- Arnie Baxendale free kick clinches result.
- Third straight Youth Alliance victory and fourth straight clean sheet.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
TRANMERE ROVERS 0
Latics rose to the challenge at a wet and windy Christopher Park on Saturday morning, clinching a 1-0 victory against Tranmere Rovers thanks to a free kick from Arnie Baxendale.
Victory for the Under 18s in a well controlled performance moved them up from fifth to third in the Football League Youth Alliance, leap-frogging Tranmere and Shrewsbury Town to sit just one point behind second place Bury and two points behind leaders Walsall.
Latics were patient and in control throughout the 90 minutes, with the visitors rarely threatening Kelland Absalom in goal as another impressive display earned a fourth straight clean sheet and 10th of the season.
Baxendale gave Latics the lead in the 26th minute with what proved to be the crucial match-winner, despite the fact that his free kick could quite easily have been a penalty when Chris Sang was tumbled by the goalkeeper close to the edge of the box.
Positioned on the left side of the area, Baxendale whipped his set piece through the penalty area and across the keeper to find the right corner with power and precision.
Latics continued to impress throughout, managing the conditions well, and came closest to doubling their lead in sensational style when Sang and Callum Lang linked up with series of one-twos, before Lang lobbed the keeper, only to see his effort go narrowly over the cross bar.
After the game, coach Will Ryder was happy with how his side saw out the win:
"It wasn't a pleasant morning weather wise, but I was impressed with how the lads dealt with the conditions, and after a very good performance in the first half, they saw out the game in the second to get the win.
"Tranmere set up tight at the back and proved tough to break down, but Arnie's produced a piece of quality from an angle you wouldn't expect to score from. In that respect I'd say we needed to create more, but that gives us something to work on in training."
Latics: Absalom, Baxendale, Lingard, Gregory, Burke, Stubbs, Rimmer, Burgess, Sang (Randell 74), Lang, Merrie
Unused subs: Roberts, Forecast, Taylor, Fitton