Five-star Latics return to winning ways in the EFL Youth Alliance after thrashing Port Vale at Christopher Park.
- Academy Report: Latics triumph 5-0 against Port Vale.
- Kyle Joseph scored a hat-trick, with James Berry grabbing a brace.
- Latics now 11 clear at the top of the EFL Youth Alliance.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 5
Berry 54, 90
Latics returned to winning ways in the EFL Youth Alliance after an impressive 5-0 victory over Port Vale at Christopher Park.
A hat-trick from Scotland youth international Kyle Joseph and a James Berry double sealed the points for Latics, helping to extend their lead at the top of the division to 11 points.
Latics made six changes following on from their 2-0 victory in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup area final over Bury, with four players on international duty.
MacKenzie O’Neill (Northern Ireland U17), Bobby Jones (Republic of Ireland U18) and England U17 youth internationals Jensen Weir and Joe Gelhardt were all unavailable for Latics. Jordan Perrin replaced Jones, whilst Harry Jolley and Ryan Galvin came into the defence.
It was a new look attack for Latics with Neil Monaghan providing the support for Berry and Joseph up front, with Victor Maffeo also being pushed into midfield.
It was the latter who played a crucial part in Latics’ opener, Berry drove forward and found Maffeo, who turned before his low effort was saved only into the path of Joseph, who marked his return to the side with a goal, smashing in the rebound.
Latics started brightly and nearly doubled their lead inside ten minutes, Monaghan’s free-kick found Will McGuffie at the back post, but the midfielder’s header was well saved.
The hosts had the large spell of possession in the first 20 minutes and threatened to double their advantage, before Joseph grabbed his second of the afternoon.
Latics won pressure deep in Port Vale’s half and Mitchell Culshaw’s pass found the Scotland youth international in-behind the defence, before calmly slotting past the goalkeeper.
The Valiants had a chance of their own just after the half hour mark, Berks skipped past two Latics players, though Perrin was on-hand to make a good save to deny the visitors.
Latics started the second-half as they started the first and had the ball in the net for a third time just after the interval, though it was ruled offside.
McGuffie found Maffeo on the left-hand side and the latter’s first time ball was met instinctively by Joseph who was in search of his hat-trick, but it was ruled out by the linesman.
Though, the striker eventually grabbed his hat-trick and Latics’ third just minutes later. Monaghan’s inviting corner was met by a towering header from the forward.
Latics turned on the style in the second-half and grabbed their fourth on the 54th minute.
Berry almost had his second of the game with just over 20 minutes remaining, though his free-kick came back off the bar with the goalkeeper beaten.
Port Vale almost got their consolation with less than ten minutes to go, Campbell-Gordon drove forward and his left-footed effort was well tipped over by substitute goalkeeper, Owen Mooney.
Latics made sure of the victory in the 90th minute, Monaghan’s corner was flicked on by Harry Jolley and the ball eventually found its way to Berry who got the final touch.
Peter Murphy's side are next in EFL Youth Alliance action against Morecambe on Saturday 30 March.
Latics: Perrin (Mooney 80), H. Jolley, Obi (Broe 57), Long, Galvin (Robinson 79), Monaghan, McGuffie, Culshaw (Aasgaard 70), Maffeo, Berry, Joseph (C. Jolley 79)