Brave Latics youngsters go down to AFC Bournemouth at the DW Stadium in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup final.
- EFL Youth Alliance Final Match Report: Latics U18 2 - 4 AFC Bournemouth.
- Nathan Randell gave Latics the lead but Kyle Taylor inspired the Cherries to win.
- Callum Lang got Latics a goal back but it wasn't enough for Nick Chadwick's side.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH 4
Taylor 26, 72
Latics’ under-18s put up a brave fight but lost out to a Kyle Taylor inspired performance from AFC Bournemouth in the final of the 2016-17 EFL Youth Alliance Cup at the DW Stadium.
Taylor cancelled out Nathan Randell’s opener for Latics before the Cherries got two goals in front before the hour mark through Antonio Diaz and Nnamdi Ofoborh.
Callum Lang got Nick Chadwick’s side back in the game and then looked to have levelled minutes later only to be controversially denied by the offside flag.
Taylor made it 4-2 as Latics pushed for an equaliser in the final 20 minutes, with Joe Gelhardt and Luke Burgess both firing narrowly wide from range.
The evening had started perfectly for Latics when Randell headed home Shane Donaghey’s near post corner after just eight minutes.
Bournemouth levelled before the half hour mark, though, as the impressive Taylor dribbled forwards from midfield, beating three Latics players en route to the edge of the penalty area, before finishing coolly past Theo Roberts.
Lang fired narrowly off target before the Cherries took the lead through Diaz, who finished from close range after receiving a return pass from Jaidon Anthony.
Luke Burgess headed against the post for Latics before half-time and they were ruthlessly made to pay when Ofoborh chipped home cleverly in the box.
Lang was again denied by Bournemouth goalkeeper Will Dennis soon after as he looked to bounce on Sam Stubbs’ flick-on before Burgess smashed an effort narrowly wide from 25 yards.
Dennis’ best save came from Stubbs just after the hour mark as he spread himself to deny the defender’s close range header.
However, he was beaten minutes later when Lang raced through and bravely looped the ball over the goalkeeper to get Latics back into the game.
The in-form forward thought he had levelled the score when he went through one-on-one with Dennis and finished just two minutes later, but the assistant referee controversially put his flag up for offside.
Taylor all-but made sure of the Cup for the Cherries four minutes later when he went on another mazy run from midfield and left Roberts with no chance with a clinical finish.
Roberts made a good save to deny Nathan Clements from making it five in the latter stages before under-16 substitute Gelhardt drove narrowly off target from the 25 yards in stoppage time.
An unfortunate end to the season for Latics, but they must take great heart from their efforts and use the experience of playing at the DW to benefit their careers.
Latics: Roberts; Plant, Golden (White 60), Hilton (Malumo 82), Stubbs; Burgess (Downey 90), Merrie, Donaghey, Cotter (Gelhardt 67); Lang, Randell.
Bournemouth: Dennis; Seaman, York (Boote 50 (Nippard 90)), Camp, Gillela; Sherring, Taylor, Ofoborh, Diaz, Anthony (Glover 80); Cope (Clements 59).