Latics put six past Accrington Stanley as they record their seventh win in the EFL Youth Alliance.
- U18 Report: Accrington Stanley 2 - 6 Wigan Athletic
- Joe Gelhardt hat-trick helps Latics to seventh win out of seven in the EFL Youth Alliance
- Kyle Joseph, MacKenzie O'Neill an Will McGuffie also on the mark
ACCRINGTON STANLEY FC 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC FC 6
Gelhardt 22, 43, 47
Wigan Athletic U18s recorded yet another victory with Joe Gelhardt grabbing a hat-trick as the young Latics defeated Accrington Stanley on Saturday.
Latics found their breakthrough on the 17th minute; Gelhardt’s mazy run resulted in him beating three players before pulling the ball back to Joseph, who slotted home from close range for his sixth goal in seven games.
The frontmen linked up again shortly after to double Latics’ advantage, Joseph latched onto the loose ball for Gelhardt to dispatch the ball past the keeper and put Latics in cruise control.
Latics, who have scored eight goals in their last two games, came close to adding a third after captain Smith’s inspiring run, but he was unable to trouble the keeper from close range.
Though, the hosts pulled one goal back from the penalty spot to half the deficit.
Latics piled on the pressure at the end of the first half and thought they were awarded an initial penalty for a foul on Gelhardt, but the linesman overruled the decision.
The England youth international was involved again minutes later and grabbed his second of the game, smashing home past the keeper to extend their lead.
Latics started the second half with the same momentum as they ended the first, Will McGuffie’s floating ball found Gelhardt who pulled away from his man to touch the ball down and finish from close range to finish off an impressive passage of play.
The visitors put the game out of sight three minutes later, Joseph’s pass found MacKenzie O’Neil who found the bottom corner with his right foot.
Latics made their pressure pay dividends in the closing stages of the game, Robinson’s chipped ball was headed into the net at the back post by McGuffie.
The hosts grabbed a consolation with five minutes to spare following a breakaway from a corner which was eventually poked home.
McGuffie, who starred in Latics’ seventh consecutive win in the league, was delighted to grab his first goal of the season:
“It’s good to get on the scoresheet and get an assist, I can’t argue with that.
“As a midfielder it’s my game to pick out the passes, whether that’s short or diagonals.”
The midfielder also praised the combination of forwards Joseph and Gelhardt:
“It’s going well in training and they show it in training every week, it’s good for us to have.”
Latics: Jones, Broe, B.Roberts, Obi, H.Jolley, McGuffie, Culshaw, Smith (capt), Joseph, Gelhardt, O’Neil
Subs involved: Brooks, Long, Baningime, Aasgaard, Robinson