Five-star Latics continue Youth Alliance title push.
- Latics 5-1 winners against bottom side Morecambe on Saturday.
- Stubbs, Sang, Plant and two goals from trialists at Robin Park.
- Under 18s four points clear of Walsall and Bury in the Youth Alliance.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 5
Trialist (7) 40
Trialist (5) 71
Latics maintained their four point lead at the summit of the Football League Youth Alliance on Saturday with a 5-1 victory over strugglers Morecambe at Robin Park Arena.
The visitors made a battle of it in the first half, but Latics, who featured four trialists from the start, worked hard to be a cohesive unit to take an early lead through Sam Stubbs. Morecambe equalised just after the half hour mark thanks to Steven Hanson, but a goal from Latics' trialist midfielder had Will Ryder's side back in front.
A five minute spell in the second half pushed the game well beyond the Shrimps, with another trialist on target, before individual brilliance from Chris Sang and a deflected cross from Anthony Plant secured the 5-1 result.
Latics looked confident from the off, but also had to get used to changes in their line-up as a trialist defender, two trialist midfielders and a forward featured, all of which integrated well heading into the second half.
Callum Lang struck the first warning shot of the match with a powerful left footed effort from 30 yards held by Morecambe keeper Niall Maher, before James Barrigan was denied at the right post after all four trialists played their parts in the build up.
It didn't take long for Latics' persistence to pay off, with Alex Lingard's cross flicked behind for a corner in the 15th minute, before the full back's second delivery found Stubbs lurking in the area to slide in and give his side the lead.
Latics began to face their only concerning spell of pressure not long after the opening goal, with Luke Burgess, who was returning from injury, forced to clear a corner off the line, before goalkeeper Kelland Absalom made himself big to deny Hanson down the left side of the box.
Just after the half an hour mark Hanson had the better of Absalom, taking advantage of a huge slice of luck after the keeper slipped with the forward advancing, allowing him to lift the ball in for 1-1.
Conceding acted as a wake-up call for Latics, and by the 40th minute they were back in front thanks to some free flowing attacking football.
Burgess advanced in midfield to find Barrigan on the edge of the area, and with a swift pass through defender he'd free Latics' trialist (7) in on goal, with the midfielder brushing off a foul from behind to slide the ball past Maher for 2-1.
Latics switched things up at the break bringing on striker Chris Sang for midfielder Burgess, before introducing another forward in Nathan Randell not long after as he replaced the trialist front man (9).
With 20 minutes remaining and the scoreline still relatively hanging in the balance, Lingard was fouled by Morgan Homson-Smith, allowing the full back to provide another assist with the resulting free kick turned in by Latics' trialist defender (5).
Two minutes later it was 4-1, with substitute Sang providing the goal of the game. The forward linked up with Barrigan outside the area, dropping his shoulder to beat an oncoming defender and bursting into the box to beat two further challenges, before slotting a composed finish into the bottom right corner.
Latics' three goals in five minutes was completed with more forceful attacking play, this time Sang saw Anthony Plant on the overlap down the right, with the Under 16 full back's fierce low cross deflected in for 5-1.
It could have been more before full time with substitute Randell's effort cleared off the line after excellent exchanges with Barrigan and Lang.
The 5-1 victory keeps Latics top of the Youth Alliance, extending their points tally to 44 from 20 matches, four ahead of second place Walsall who have played 22, and third place Bury who have played 19.
Latics: Absalom, Plant, Lingard, Trialist (4), Trialist (5), Stubbs, Trialist (7) (Forecast 77), Lang, Trialist (9) (Randell 65), Barrigan, Burgess (Sang 46)
Unused subs: Roberts, Taylor