We take a look back at a record breaking 2018-19 campaign for Latics’ young charges who secured the treble in an unprecedented campaign.
- Wigan Athletic 2018-19 Season Review: Under 18s.
- Latics secured the EFL Youth Alliance title, Lancashire FA Youth Cup and EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
- We look at the numbers behind an extraordinary campaign for Latics’ Under 18s.
It was an unprecedented season for Peter Murphy, Gregor Rioch and the academy staff as the 2018-19 season came to its conclusion on 7 May, with Wigan Athletic’s Under 18s securing the treble in a remarkable campaign.
With seven youth international players in the ranks, 62 points, 32 victories and 124 goals scored demonstrate their consistent excellence across this season, as well as going a record 12 months unbeaten in the EFL Youth Alliance.
The season kicked off with an entertaining 4-2 victory over local rivals Preston North End in August 2018, before winning their next 10 consecutive games in all competitions.
33 goals scored and nine conceded got Latics off to the perfect start, which included progressing in the Youth Alliance Cup after impressive victories over Chesterfield (3-2) and Bradford City (3-1).
Not only to mention a memorable night at Molineux Stadium in December 2018, with goals from Divin Baningime and 2018-19 top goal-scorer Charlie Jolley knocking out Wolves in the FA Youth Cup.
December proved to be a vital month on Latics’ course for silverware, with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Lincoln City setting up a semi-final tie against Scunthorpe United, courtesy of Jolley’s second half winner.
Latics continued to kick on in January, thrashing Hull City 6-2 in the FA Youth Cup at KCOM Stadium with Murphy’s side flourishing.
Goals from Jolley (2), Divin Baningime and a hat-trick for England youth international Joe Gelhardt completed a triumph against the Tigers, with Latics progressing to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup against Liverpool.
Another landmark victory was secured in January for Latics as they beat Shrewsbury Town 5-0 in the Youth Alliance, extending their unbeaten run to 24 games and 12 months unbeaten in the league.
Despite crashing out of the FA Youth Cup after a spirited 2-0 defeat to Liverpool, Latics were setting their own standards. A 2-0 victory against Bury in the Youth Alliance Cup are final booked their place in the national final against Exeter, as well as firming up their grip on top spot in the Youth Alliance after scoring 18 goals in four games.
Latics were deservedly celebrating following their 2-0 victory over Bury FC as MacKenzie O’Neil’s double secured the EFL Youth Alliance title in April.
The success didn’t stop there as the Under 18s were also crowned Lancashire FA Youth Cup winners after a 5-2 victory against Preston North End, claiming back-to-back Lancashire FA Youth Cup crowns.
Latics’ formidable strike force was at the heart of their success this campaign, with Kyle Joseph and Jolley proving clinical scoring 57 goals between them.
Despite two consecutive defeats in the league to follow against Preston North End (1-2) and Walsall (0-1), the young charges were hungry for more success as a 2-0 victory over Exeter City secured the EFL Youth Alliance Cup at St. James Park.
Jolley’s 40th and 41st goals across the academy secured Latics the treble on a momentous night for the academy, with the season concluding with a 2-2 draw against Wrexham FC, followed by a 2-1 victory against Rochdale at Christopher Park, in which Jolley netted his 42nd of the campaign.
Latics ended the season with 32 wins, five draws and three defeats in all competitions.
Seven international players representing Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Norway and England, as well as Gelhardt, Weir and Jolley making their first-team debuts against Birmingham City and Millwall respectively capped off an unprecedented season for the academy, with Gregor Rioch and his staff fully deserving of a prestigious campaign.