WIGAN ATHLETIC 3
Dicko 8, 67
PRESTON NORTH END 1
Wigan Athletic's Development Squad continued their excellent progress so far this season as they took a rest from Central League action to take on local rivals Preston North End in a friendly at Christopher Park, with Nouha Dicko opening the scoring early on before adding a second after Preston equalised before half time.
Substitute Luke Ainscough added the third to put Latics out of site but they had plenty more chances to force the issue against a North End side that featured first team members Thorsten Stuckmann, Nicky Wroe and Will Hayhurst among their starting XI.
It was a fast start for Latics who were handing Under 18 forward Matthew Hamilton his Development Squad debut and it was the former Everton youngster who created the first goal inside eight minutes.
His movement off the ball beat the offside trap to run onto a defence splitting Danny Redmond pass, with Hamilton then simply having to pick out Dicko on the edge of the six yard box to turn the ball into the roof of the net.
Latics kept possession extremely well for long periods and often found themselves moving it slickly across the ground.
Joey Johnson could have doubled the lead when he was fed in down the left by Redmond, cutting back inside onto his right foot but seeing a low shot parried away by Stuckmann.
On 36 minutes Lee Nicholls prevented an equaliser from Jeffrey Monakana as the forward raced through Latics defence but saw his low effort saved by the feet of Latics impressive stopper.
Preston got their equaliser with just moments of the first half remaining when a deep Hayhurst corner caught Latics' defence out and North End's trialist defender planted a header into the back of the net.
In the second half Guillermo Andres almost made it 2-1 when Jordan Mustoe powered down the left wing but the Spanish striker couldn't turn the ball in at the front post.
Latics didn't leave it too long to nudge themselves back into the lead but eventual goal scorer Dicko was forced to clear a corner off his own line just a minute before his second goal.
The French winger sprinted up to the other end of the pitch to bring down a long Nicholls goal kick with precision, before opening up space to shoot on his left foot, whipping the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
Four minutes later another impressive long range effort flew past North End's substitute goalkeeper Steven James when Luke Ainscough found himself in acres of space and simply picked his spot to fire right footed into the bottom right corner.
Latics had three great chances to extend their lead as full time approach, first with Joey Johnson forcing a point blank save from an Andres cut back, before Dicko raced through on goal one-on-one with the keeper but couldn't convert for his hat-trick when he struck low.
The last chance of the game came from influential midfielder Redmond who attempted to curl a first time left footed shot beyond James but saw his effort held onto as Latics had to settle for three goals.
Latics: Nicholls, Buxton, Mustoe, Langley (Wilson 58), Kiernan, Meadows, Dicko, Redmond, Hamilton (Ainscough 28), Andres (Trialist 89), Johnson