Latics begin cup defence with deserved comeback away to Preston.
- Latics' Under 18s win 3-2 against Preston in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup.
- Goals from Barrigan, Randell and Lang as Latics come from behind to win.
- Oldham Athletic await in the second round after Latics' impressive victory.
PRESTON NORTH END 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC 3
Latics' defence of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup began in dramatic fashion at Chorley FC's Victory Park, as Will Ryder's side came from 2-1 down at half time to win 3-2 against Preston North End, with goals from leading goal scorer James Barrigan and fellow forwards Nathan Randell and Callum Lang, all of which were of the highest quality.
Having won the cup 6-1 against Tranmere Rovers back in April, the pressure was on for a young Latics outfit, and despite falling behind twice in the opening 45 minutes, they showed grit, determination and some stylish football against a physical Preston to turn the game on its head thanks to two wonderful strikes from first year scholars Randell and Lang.
It wasn't easy for Latics, who were hoping to bounce back from consecutive 2-0 defeats in the Youth Alliance, as within the first minute they found themselves behind when a diagonal pass was cut out inside the hosts' half, allowing a cross from the right into the feet of Adam James Robinson for a simple finish.
Seven minutes later Latics had themselves level through a familiar source, Barrigan's eye for a free kick (which had him nominated for August's LFE Goal of the Month) was sharp once again, as he curled the ball left footed around the wall and into the bottom left corner for 1-1.
Impressive passing with a quick tempo and some exciting final third interchanges followed, but Latics couldn't perfect it to take the lead.
They should have arguably had the opportunity to go 2-1 up from the penalty spot just moments before Preston took the lead for the second time in the first half, when Randell chopped inside from the left and had his legs taken from underneath him, but the referee waved play on.
A long pass from North End's left full back found their number nine inside the left edge of the area, with the forward slotting coolly into the bottom left corner of Theo Roberts' goal.
Latics regrouped impressively at half time following the late blow, and within three minutes they were level through Randell, who smashed a first time shot from the edge of the area high into Callum Roberts' goal.
Momentum swung right into Latics' favour and their hard work against a direct and competitive North End paid off 12 minutes from time, when substitute Lang latched onto a pass inside from Barrigan on the left, before driving the ball into the bottom right corner from the edge of the area.
Latics were forced to dig in for the remaining minutes, but did so resolutely to hold on for a second round tie against Oldham Athletic.
Latics: Roberts, Baxendale, Taylor, Stubbs, Forecast, Beaumont, Merrie, Cotter (Lang 61), Randell (Sang 76), Barrigan, Rimmer
Unused subs: Absalom, Burgess, Powell
- FIXTURES: See the full schedule for the Under 18s this season.
- PROFILES: Get to know our youth team.