Latics make it three wins from three in the Youth Alliance Cup to top their group, defeating Bradford City in game-week three.
- Academy Match Report: Bradford City 1 Wigan Athletic 3
- Charlie Jolley nets twice in 3-1 away win against the Bantams.
- Latics make it three wins from three in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup group stage.
WIGAN ATHLETIC U18 3
C.Jolley 51 (pen), 60
Wigan Athletic U18s go top of their group in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup following a 3-1 victory over Bradford City, courtesy of a double from Charlie Jolley.
Latics could have gone ahead in the opening five minutes after Mitchell Culshaw received a terrific pass in-behind the defence but his pull-back could not find either of Charlie Jolley or Kyle Joseph.
The latter were involved again just minutes later after a brilliant interception from Will McGuffie in midfield, with the ball eventually bouncing to Culshaw on the edge of the box, who steadied himself but his shot sailed just over the bar.
The visitors had to be patient for their first clear-cut chance of the game which came in the 20th minute, a nice interchange on the right led to Joseph being found in space in the area, but the Scotland youth international forward lacked conviction with his effort.
Bradford had their first chance in the 25th minute, a ball in-behind left the forward with space to get his shot away, though Bobby Jones was on hand to gather the ball comfortably.
Latics kept pushing for the opener on the half hour mark, Culshaw did well to step past his man but his cross could not be turned into the net, only for the ball to fall to left-back Luke Robinson, whose fierce goal-bound effort was cleared.
Latics started the second-half on the front foot and were awarded a penalty when Divin Baningime was fouled after an inspired run. Forward, Jolley, who scored a from the spot last weekend against Tranmere Rovers, stepped up again to slot his penalty past the goalkeeper to give the visitors the breakthrough.
Latics deservedly extended their lead just ten minutes later, Robinsons’ teasing corner found Jolley at the front post and the forward cleverly diverted his header into the net for his second goal of the game.
The visitors could have put the game out of reach with ten minutes to go, though forward, Joseph, could only shoot wide after Baningime’s low cross across goal.
Though, it was Bradford who got a goal back to make it a nervy final few minutes after they were awarded a penalty of their own.
Despite the pressure, Latics regained their two-goal lead once again after good work from Culshaw, only for his cross to be diverted into his own net by a Bradford defender.
Forward, Jolley, who scored two in Latics’ hard-fought win, was delighted with the three points:
“The first-half was abit scrappy but in the second-half we took our chances and it paid off, so we’re happy to be top of the group.
“As long as we keep the run going I’m sure more goals will come, and hopefully we can keep progressing in the competition.”
The forward also reflected on his form since his return from an injury lay-off:
“It’s good to be back playing football and I just want to keep helping the team and doing the best I can.”