Latics keep cup hopes alive with 4-3 win in thriller at Wrexham.
- Latics grab crucial late winner in thrilling 4-3 at Wrexham.
- Robles, Jennings, Flores and O'Brien on target.
- Final Third Development League Cup hopes still alive.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 4
Flores (pen) 69
Latics grabbed themselves a late winner in a topsy-turvy seven goal thriller at Wrexham in the Final Third Development League Cup, coming from 1-0 down to lead 3-1, before the hosts pulled level with 16 minutes remaining, only for Danny O'Brien to clinch the game 4-3 from distance.
Louis Robles and Ryan Jennings scored in quick succession at the start of the second half following Joe Quigley's opener for Wrexham, with Jordan Flores then extending the lead from the penalty spot. Kayden Jackson and Liam Walsh then grabbed a goal each just three minutes apart to make it 3-3, before O'Brien's strike sealed Latics their first three points in Group C, keeping cup hopes alive and pulling them level with Stoke City and Port Vale.
It was a fast paced start from Latics who created their first chance within the opening minute of the game, when Flores ran with the ball through the middle, laying it off for Robles who played a one-two with Sam Cosgrove, before firing low at the Wrexham keeper who held on.
Three minutes later James Barrigan saw a shot deflected after more good build up play, this time Jennings sent Alex Lingard on the overlap, his cross finding O'Brien deep in the area of the right, Barrigan set up first time by the winger, but to no avail.
Possession ebbed and flowed from then on, with Latics called into some strong defending in the air against Wrexham's powerful front line. Adam Anson, who earned a place on the first team bench for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy victory at Crewe Alexandra, leading the back line well, with Owen Evans making some telling catches.
After a period of pressure heading into half time, Latics' defence was eventually beaten, when Jake Phillips' cross from the right found the head of Quigley who found the top left corner.
One minute after the restart O'Brien stung the gloves of Kieran Wolland in the Wrexham goal, the keeper fumbling the shot, but Robles couldn't quite reach it to follow the ball in.
Wrexham threatened again in the opening ten minutes of the second half, but just before the hour mark Latics levelled through Robles.
Jennings switched play from left to right with precision, finding O'Brien on the right who fired the ball across goal first time for Robles to turn in at close range.
Four minutes later and Robles turned provider, holding play up down the left side of the area, before cutting it back for Jennings who powered home giving Wolland no chance.
At 2-1 Latics looked like they were starting to turn the screw, and six minutes later they had a penalty, Jennings involved again, beating two defenders down the left side before being bundled over from behind, a clear penalty.
Flores stepped up confidently, finding the bottom left corner for 3-1.
Two minutes later and the hosts started to make it an uncomfortable final 20 minutes, Jackson finishing from close range as Johnny Smith pulled it back in the box.
Wrexham were back level with 16 minutes remaining, this time Jackson set up Liam Walsh, another close range effort for 3-3.
A draw would have been an unhelpful result for both sides in the standings of Group C, and it was Latics who always looked the most likely to take the three points.
First Robles' header from O'Brien's corner took a deflection over the bar, then from the resulting corner Cosgrove flicked his header narrowly wide of the left post from Flores' in-swinging delivery.
Three minutes from time Latics found their crucial goal. Possession was won back in midfield, and within three touches of the ball O'Brien scored the winner, flicking the ball off the ground twice to volley across the keeper to find the bottom corner, the ball bouncing off the foot of the post, up onto the underside of the cross bar and in.
Latics almost grabbed a fifth in the first minute of stoppage time, but Robles was denied at the right post after an initial effort from substitute Callum Lang.
Victory for Latics sees them level with group leaders Stoke City and opening game opponents Port Vale who also have three points.
Latics: Evans, Burke, Lingard, Baxendale, Anson (Stubbs 88), Flores, O'Brien, Barrigan, Cosgrove (Lang 88), Robles, Jennings
Unused Subs: Absalom, Rimmer, Randell