WIGAN ATHLETIC U18s 3
Leigh 44 o.g.
DERBY COUNTY U18s 1
After falling behind against the run of play through a long range free kick, John Doolan’s young Latics pounced on their ailing opponents, levelling before half time and finishing the job off in the second half with two fine finishes from Matty Hamilton and Ryan Meadows.
Latics took a page from the first team book with some fine, flowing and often counter attacking football in what was one of their best performances of the season, on what was a blustery day at Christopher Park.
It was a bright start to the game with some controlled possession play from the home side but, Derby’s threat from set pieces was showing.
Michael Cottrill had to be on his toes 16 minutes in when he tipped a thumping Sam Berry free kick onto the cross bar.
Derby frustrated Latics in the first half as the dominant football was snuffed out when they advanced into the final third.
After the half an hour mark Latics had three consecutive chances to open the scoring, with Joel Kerwin firing wide at the back post and Joey Johnson’s controlled effort placed just wide.
Hamilton came closest though after excellent wide play from Jamie Gibson and Brad Anderson, with the latter cutting inside and playing the perfect ball in between the centre backs.
Hamilton then shaped to shoot but, his low, right footed effort bounced off the post and deflected away from the incoming Kerwin.
Then came the sucker punch as the Rams earned a free kick in the same position as their earlier chance.
With the warning signs there already, Derby defender Berry stepped up again and this time fired his long range free kick past Cottrill, using the wind to full advantage.
Latics didn’t let it get to them though and four minutes later Derby shot themselves in the foot.
Praise has to be drawn to Latics’ forwards Johnson and Hamilton as they harassed Derby captain Josh Leigh who hit a heavy back pass to his goalkeeper Mats Morch.
The ‘keeper had a nightmare, miss-kicking the ball as it clipped off his boot and into the bottom corner of his own net.
Following the break it was much more cut and dry for Latics and just seven minutes after half time Hamilton grabbed a much deserved goal to give his side the lead.
Powerful midfielder Kerwin was the provider as he advanced through the Derby defence, before clipping his pass between defenders into the path of Hamilton who volleyed past a hapless Derby ‘keeper.
It became chance after chance for Latics as Johnson, Hamilton and Anderson constantly terrorised the Derby back line.
Latics’ third goal and the one to seal the result came 12 minutes from time when a pin-point Michael Wilson free kick was chested down by Ryan Meadows in the area and lashed, left footed from the penalty spot.
The victory is the second of the season for Latics and lifts them four points above opponents Derby.
Latics: Cottrill, Gibson, Johnstone, Ainscough, Wilson, Mason, Kerwin, Meadows, Hamilton, Johnson, Anderson
Unused Subs: Hare, Gibbons, Flores, Christian, Unsworth
Derby: Morch, Hayes, Sharpe, Dawkins, Leigh, Berry, Revan (Wassall 64), Bola (Rowson 64), Thomas, Wixted, Lowe
Unused Subs: Etheridge, Hanson, Nash