WIGAN ATHLETIC UNDER 18s 0
COVENTRY CITY UNDER 18s 1
An early defensive mistake proved the difference in a game that saw Latics hit the cross bar twice and saw an effort cleared off the line.
It was Coventry’s Dominic Dell who was sharp enough to pounce when Jamie Gibson’s pass back evaded goalkeeper Michael Cottrill but, Latics were unlucky not to have turned the result around as they pressed for the majority.
John Doolan had last week’s Under 21 inclusions to hand as Luke Ainscough, Michael Wilson, Ryan Meadows and Joey Johnson all came in to start.
Before the third minute goal, Paddy Christian set the tone of how Latics would attack throughout as he raced into space down the left hand side, exposing the Sky Blues’ defence.
It was an open start and possession wasn’t controlled and it was to be that fact that would undo the hosts.
As Latics played from the back, right full back Gibson attempted to play the ball back to his keeper but was unfortunately caught out, playing the ball into the centre for Coventry’s Dell to pounce on and roll into an open goal.
Latics looked shell-shocked but only for a moment and the nature of the goal only spurred them on.
Poking and probing at the Coventry defence started to open up gaps and on the half an hour mark Luke Ainscough provided the first clear cut chance of the game as he dribbled through three defenders with excellent close control and let fly from range, forcing Alex Gott into a diving save to turn the ball around his right hand post.
Just before half time came consecutive free kicks with similar outcomes.
First Joel Kerwin stepped up from the left side to curl his effort onto the cross bar via the fingertips of Gott, before a right sided free kick, left footed, from Paddy Christian similarly thumped the woodwork.
After half time Latics continued to push for an equaliser, with excellent wing play down the left from Bram Johnstone and an inviting cross it looked destined to be turned in by Omar Thompson but he missed the ball at the front post.
The pressure wasn’t over as Gott could only parry to the penalty spot where Ryan Meadows stood in wait, volleying the ball into the ground and having it cleared off the line by Cian Harres.
It was constant attack from Latics the further the game went on and the introduction of towering forward Sam Cosgrove only caused more problems for the Coventry defence.
Cosgrove’s hold up play brought more of his team mates into attacks and he also went close himself when another Johnstone cross landed at his feet but, his side footed effort was deflected narrowly wide.
The final chance came seven minutes from time when Luke Ainscough popped up at the back post, heading low into the corner with Gott diving onto the ball and almost turning it into his own net.
After the game John Doolan said:
“I thought we played really well in the second half particularly and we were really unlucky not to score considering the chances we made.
“For us to be beaten by a goal like they scored is hard to take because we limited them to very few chances after that and we hit the crossbar twice.
“It was another very encouraging performance and if we had been more clinical we could have taken all three points.”
Latics: Cottrill, Gibson, Johnstone, Ainscough, Wilson, Gibbons, Kerwin (Cosgrove 72), Meadows, Thompson, Johnson, Christian (Mather 63)
Unused Sub: Hare
Coventry: Gott, Finch, Harres (Kelly-Evans 86), Quinn, R.Smith, Azille Moore, Maund (Baker-Richardson 79), Lawton, Dell, Garner, Rankin
Unused Subs: R.Smith, Fagan, Forrester