A 4-2 win on penalties against Middlesbrough saw Latics reach the semi-final of Premier League Floodlit Cup on Tuesday evening.
- Latics Under 15s defeat Middlesbrough to reach the semi-final of Premier League Floodlit Cup.
- Kian Monks’ brace rescued Latics after Middlesbrough took a late lead.
- Latics have now won six out of seven games in the competition.
Monks 61, 80
(Latics 4-2 Middlesbrough) Pens.
Wigan Athletic Under 15s have reached the semi-final of the Premier League Floodlit Cup after defeating Middlesbrough on penalties in a thrilling quarter-final.
Latics, who finished top of their group to qualify for the knockout stages, went behind twice in the game, but produced a spirited comeback late on courtesy of Kian Monks’ second of the game.
After a tired display from both sides in extra-time, Curtis Robinson’s winning penalty saw Latics win 4-2 in the shoot-out, with goalkeeper Owen Mooney also saving one to give Latics a helping hand in their victory.
Latics found themselves a goal behind at half-time, though responded in the second-half to equalise.
Following a good passage of play, Alfie Devine’s ball sent Monks in behind the Boro defence with only the goalkeeper to beat, and Latics’ top goal-scorer in the competition calmly dispatched the ball past the goalkeeper to level just after the hour mark.
Though, Latics’ hard work was undone once more as Middlesbrough took the lead with five minutes to spare. Latics conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box, with the resulting effort beating Mooney.
A cruel blow on Latics, though, Kieran Driscoll’s side’s pressure paid dividends with ten minutes remaining of normal time. Latics were awarded a penalty when Chris Sze went down under a challenge, with Monks stepping up to score from 12 yards out.
Latics looked like they completed the perfect come-back in extra-time as a curling cross from Dan Smith was met by Arthur Lomax at the back-post, though the referee disallowed the goal with Lomax being adjudged to have fouled his man in the process.
Latics continued to push in extra-time and looked the more likely, though a penalty shoot-out would decide who grabbed the place in the semi-final.
After a tense shoot-out, Robinson’s winning penalty ensured Latics deservedly booked their place in the semi-final of the Premier League floodlit cup after Middlesbrough missed their penalty.
Driscoll said he was delighted with Latics’ performance:
“It’s another special night for the academy, the lads did really well, and I thought we were the better team throughout the whole game”, he said.
“It was a really good game, one of the best games that I’ve been involved in. They were competitive and a tough side to play against.”
Cup games always live up to expectations, with Driscoll saying his Latics players will learn a lot from:
“It’s the type of games that they need, the emotion, spirit and atmosphere that you get doesn’t compare to our normal games programme, so they will learn a lot from this experience and make us better as a group.”
Further details of Latics’ Under-15’s next opponents in the Premier League Floodlit Cup semi-final will be confirmed in due course.