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U18 REPORT: LATICS 2 FOREST 0

PUBLISHED

14:00 2nd March 2013

by Nick Taylor

Flores' early first half goal and Jennings' early second half goal ensure comfortable victory at Christopher Park.

WIGAN ATHLETIC UNDER 18s 2
Flores 3
Jennings 46

NOTTINGHAM FOREST UNDER 18s 0

An early goal in each half provided the shining moments for Latics as they controlled the game for long spells, with Jordan Flores and Ryan Jennings getting on the score sheet.

John Doolan was able to hand starts to centre backs Michael Wilson and Andy Mason who returned from injury, while Christian Mather continued his starting run in the centre of midfield to good effect.

Latics did go ahead after just three minutes but it could have been in the second minute as they carved open their first chance through Matty Hamilton.

The number nine received the ball on the edge of the Nottingham Forest area and dodged a trailing leg to open up space with just the keeper to beat but, Aaron Myles was quick off his line and saved Hamilton's low shot with his feet.

Latics' tails were up, eyeing a weakness in the Forest defence and when Joel Kerwin was allowed space to run into down the left wing it was time for the hosts to take advantage.

The 18-year-old's cross to the back post was inch perfect for Jordan Flores to sneak in behind the full back and tap in under the keeper's body to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Opening the game up so early gave Latics freedom on the ball as the tireless Ryan Meadows and tricky Mather helped keep the ball flowing from defence to attack.

The pace and power of front trio Flores, Jennings and Hamilton had Forest on the back foot, with the latter almost making it 2-0 on 22 minutes.

Hamilton's movement off the ball once again allowed him space on the edge of the Forest area and he pounced on a slack pass at the back but fired wide with just the keeper to beat.

There were moments in the first half when Latics were made to defend and they did so solidly until a pass from Palmer-Samuels played in Mulraney but, the forward came up against keeper Michael Cottrill who darted off his line to pounce on the ball at the Forest man's feet.

It could have been more than just the one goal at half time with the chances created in the first half but it didn't matter too much to Latics who were on fire from kick off and doubled their lead with ease.

The finish from Jennings was nothing short of superb, as was the long pass from Mason.

As the ball came over the top down the right hand side, Jennings ran onto it leaving the defender in his wake and in Arouna Kone fashion from last weekend at Reading, his effort was sent over the keeper's head and into the far corner from a tight angle.

The two goal cushion gave Latics even more time and space to begin to string the ball around comfortably and as the second half wore on, signs of tiring were absent as every player closed down with the desire to win the ball back if they lost it.

Concentration had to remain high in the last 15 minutes as the visitors tried to up their efforts but the calm heads of Wilson and Mason at the back and the outlets of Jamie Gibson and Bram Johnstone down each side helped Latics to diffuse any pressure.

Under 16s Lloyd Bannister and Sam Cosgrove were given their chances late on, with Cosgrove proving a physical presence up front while Bannister, a right full back, made a key challenge in the penalty area when it looked like Forest's Petravicius was through on goal down the left.

Cottrill ensured a clean sheet was made with the last action of the game as he sprawled low to his left to save from an ambitious effort by Arrowsmith.

Latics: Cottrill, Gibson (Bannister 82), Johnstone, Mather, Wilson, Mason, Kerwin, Meadows, Hamilton (Cosgrove 77), Jennings, Flores (Christian 82)

Forest: Myles, Sebastiao, Polimos, Spencer, Ackroyd, Arrowsmith, Petravicius, Adams (Burke 82), Elliott, Palmer-Samuels, Mulraney (Worthington 57)

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