Latics lose out in EFL Youth Alliance Cup final as Ciaren Jones header sees Luton Town win close affair.
- EFL Youth Alliance Cup Final Report: Luton Town 1 – 0 Wigan Athletic
- Ciaren Jones scored the decisive goal at Kenilworth Road
- Jordan Perrin had kept Latics in the game with penalty save in the second-half
Latics’ under-18s were edged out in a close EFL Youth Alliance Cup final at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday night as Ciaren Jones’ header proved decisive.
Jordan Perrin’s superb second-half penalty save from Arthur Read kept the score goalless early in the second-half but Nick Chadwick’s side couldn’t muster a reply to Jones’ opener despite a battling effort.
Charlie Jolley had the first opening of the game as he got played in behind by Joe Gelhardt only to be denied by a Corey Panter block.
At the other end, Perrin, made a good save to deny Josh Neufville for the Hatters as an even game swung back and forth in terms of chances.
Jolley again went close on the half hour mark as he broke in behind from a Joe Downey pass only to see his effort well saved by Tiernan Parker in the Luton Town goal.
On the stroke of half-time, Anthony Plant rose well from a corner but headed off target as the sides went in level.
Soon after the restart, the hosts had the opportunity to go ahead as Tom Hilton was harshly penalised by the referee for a foul on Scott Belgrove, despite it looking like the defender got a clean take of the ball. However, Perrin guessed right from Read’s penalty to keep it level.
Michael Shamalo headed against the bar a minute later as the Hatters asserted the pressure that eventually saw them get the game’s only goal, Jones heading the loose ball home from a corner.
Jolley saw an effort blocked as Latics looked for a quick equaliser. They were thankful, though, to Hilton who produced a superb close range block to deny Shamalo an almost certain goal.
Good play by Gelhardt presented a chance from range for captain Downey, who was again denied by Parker before Mwiya Malumo had penalty claims turned down.
Late on, Latics almost got the leveller their efforts deserved but Will McGuffie’s half volley was blocked on the line by the home defence.
Disappointment for Latics, but they go again on Saturday in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup final against Preston North End at Christopher Park.
Latics: Perrin; Golden, Maffeo, Plant, Hilton; McGuffie, Baningime (Malumo 56), Downey (Capt), Cotter; Gelhardt, Jolley (Berry 67)
Subs: McGaughey, Culshaw, Smith.
Luton Town: Parker, James, Panter, Jones, Read, Peck, Shamalo, Neufville (Byron 88), Belgrove (Beckwith 79), Richardson (Tomlinson 74), Mead.
Subs: Gordon-Stearn, Boorn.