EFL Youth Alliance Champions Latics fell to just their second defeat of the season.
- Academy Report: Latics 0-1 Walsall FC
- Latics edged out by physical Saddlers at Christopher Park.
- Under 15 starlet Arthur Lomax made his Under 18 debut for Latics.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
WALSALL FC 1
Latics fell to their second EFL Youth Alliance defeat of the season after visitors Walsall FC claimed the bragging rights at Christopher Park on Saturday afternoon.
Peter Murphy made ten changes after his side were crowned Lancashire FA Youth Cup Champions against Preston North End last-time out, with only Victor Maffeo keeping his place in the starting XI.
New Under 18 scholar James Carragher featured from the start and a debut was handed to Under 15 sensation, Arthur Lomax, who netted four times in Latics’ Under 15s' Premier League Floodlit Cup Northern Final victory over Sunderland AFC.
Louis Isherwood, Thelo Aasgaard and James Berry were also amongst the changes as Latics set-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the latter providing the service for Kyle Joseph up-front.
It was a typical fast start from Latics’ young charges in tough conditions. The hosts had chances throughout as they saw the majority of the ball, though they failed to find their clinical edge.
Though, it was the visitors who opened the scoring against the run of play on 28 minutes as Latics were caught in possession with McSkeaner’s effort beating Bobby Jones.
Despite Latics dominating possession and creating a wholesale number of chances, the Saddlers held on to record their second consecutive victory in the Youth Alliance, condemning the hosts to a rare defeat.
After impressing at academy level this campaign, Jensen Weir and Joe Gelhardt were both recognised by Paul Cook, with both players featuring in Wigan Athletics’ 1-1 draw with Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon.
The England youth international duo made their competitive debuts for the club, with Gelhardt coming close to giving Latics all three points at St. Andrew's.
Latics are next in action against Exeter on 30 April for the EFL Youth Alliance Cup Final at the Grecian’s St. James’ Park, with Murphy hoping his side can add to their EFL Youth Alliance title and Lancashire FA Youth Cup trophy in a stellar 2018-19 campaign.
Latics: Jones, H. Jolley, Carragher, Isherwood, Robinson, Maffeo (Capt), Johnson, Lomax, Berry, Aasgaard, Joseph
Subs: Broe, McGee, Snell, McWilliam, Lloyd