Goals from Joe Gelhardt and Charlie Jolley helped Latics on their way to the Central League title this afternoon
- Academy Report: Morecambe 1-2 Wigan Athletic.
- Latics crowned Central League champions at Globe Arena.
- Joe Gelhardt and Charlie Jolley were both on target in each half.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Gelhardt 19, Jolley 67
A successful season for Wigan Athletic’s Academy continued this afternoon as Nick Chadwick’s Development Squad clinched the Central League title with victory over Morecambe.
Needing to only match second-placed Rotherham’s result to secure the league, Latics went ahead through Gelhardt who pounced on a loose ball inside the area on 19 minutes.
Striker Jolley doubled the advantage in the 67th minute with a calm finish in the box however the Shrimps ensured a nervy finale as Ben Hedley converted a penalty two minutes from time.
In truth, Stewart Drummond’s side started the better of the two teams and Carlos Mendes-Gomes went closest to opening the scoring when his long-range strike deflected just wide.
Latics responded well and had an opportunity of their own through Gelhardt who saw his shot well blocked on the edge of the box, however the midfielder wasn’t to be denied a second time when he was the quickest to react to a loose ball in the area to smash home just shy of the 20-minute mark.
Alex Kenyon’s powerful strike later flew over Owen Evans’ bar, while Victor Maffeo was denied in a good position and Gelhardt sent a low shot narrowly wide before the break.
The second period was a scrappier affair with neither side being able to create clear cut chances; Crankshaw going the closest for Latics when his shot was saved by Dawid Szczepaniak.
In-form Jolley, who scored twice for Latics’ U18s in the Lancashire FA Cup final last Saturday, then increased his side’s margin with a calm finish inside the box on 67 minutes.
Maffeo almost immediately made it three when he went on a darting run down the right before shooting wide of the post, however the Shrimps were handed a lifeline late on when they were awarded a penalty, which was coolly put away by Hedley.
Latics were forced to defend in stoppage time as the home side pushed for an equaliser, but the back four, marshalled by Emeka Obi and Adam Long, stayed strong to clinch victory and the league title.
Latics: Evans, Maffeo, Galvin, Obi, Long, Merrie (capt), Crankshaw, Perry, Jolley, Geldhart, Burgess.