James Berry’s double sends Latics through to the Youth Alliance Cup area final after coming from behind against Scunthorpe United.
- EFL Youth Alliance Cup match report: Scunthorpe United 1 Latics 2.
- James Berry's double sends Latics into the area final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
- Latics remain unbeaten in 2018-19.
Berry 34, 88 (pen)
Latics progressed to the final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup after coming from behind to beat Scunthorpe United 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, courtesy of a brace from James Berry, including an 88th minute penalty to clinch the win.
Latics made two changes from their victory over Hull City in the FA Youth Cup, with the returning Berry and Mitchell Culshaw replacing Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir respectively.
Latics, who beat Lincoln City in the quarter-final in December, courtesy of Charlie Jolley’s second half goal, started the game brightly in a 4-4-2 set-up, with Berry providing the support for frontman, Jolley.
It was Scunthorpe who had the first clear chance of the game inside seven minutes, though Bobby Jones was on-hand to gather a free-header.
The Iron took the lead soon after, with Latics conceding another free-kick and the ball being flicked on past the reach of Jones by Miracle Okafor.
Latics threatened almost instantly in the search of an equaliser, with Berry and Culshaw both having their attempted efforts blocked.
An end-to-end first 15 minutes saw Scunthorpe coming close this time to doubling their advantage, Aidan Train’s inviting delivery found Okafor, though his goal-bound header was well saved by Jones.
Latics got their equaliser in the 34th minute, a searching ball found Culshaw who found himself in-behind the defence and he squared it to Berry who made no mistake, tapping home from six yards out.
Despite a cagey second-half, Latics almost took the lead on the hour mark.
Berry found Culshaw out wide and the latter’s low cross was almost diverted into the net by a Scunthorpe defender, though Tom Collins was on-hand to make a point-blank save to deny Latics.
Peter Murphy made two changes in the hope of engineering the game in the visitors’ favour, with Gelhardt and Kyle Joseph replacing Divin Baningime and Jolley.
Latics came close again with just over five minutes to go, Luke Robinson cut inside onto his weaker foot and his curling effort was saved.
Latics were awarded a penalty soon after, Berry’s initial effort was saved and substitute Gelhardt was brought down inside the box.
Berry, who grabbed Latics’ equaliser, stepped up and rifled the ball past the goalkeeper to put Latics in the lead and grab his second of the afternoon.
Despite late pressure from the hosts, Latics held on to extend their unbeaten run and reach the final of the Youth Alliance Cup.
Latics: Jones, Maffeo, Obi, Long, Robinson, Culshaw (Weir 79), Smith (capt), McGuffie, Baningime (Gelhardt 63), Berry (Galvin 90), C.Jolley (Joseph 63)
Unused sub: Aasgaard