DEVELOPMENT SQUADWIGAN ATHLETIC 3
Dicko 39, 83
Morris 41, 49
An exhausting eight goal encounter at between Latics and Walsall ended the Development Squad's 100% start to the season despite Latics taking the lead just six minutes in.
Danny Redmond put Latics into an early lead despite the visitors pushing hard from the start, Walsall then equalised and pushed 2-1 ahead just after half an hour, before Nouha Dicko got his first of two goals to immediately make it 2-2.
On 41 minutes Walsall were ahead once again through two-goal Keiron Morris, extending their lead to 4-2 four minutes into the second half, before they made it 5-2 with 23 minutes remaining, with Dicko grabbing his second seven minutes from time, a mere consolation with time running out.
Latics faced several changes to their unbeaten starting line-up as a trialist goalkeeper, Michael Wilson, Ryan Meadows, Josh Langley and Luke Ainscough all came in to start and with Juan Carlos Garcia and Fraser Fyvie away on international duty, Dicko was the only first team member of the squad.
Walsall made a bright start to the game with some immediate pressure but on six minutes it was Latics who took a surprise lead when an Adam Buxton cross from the right was flailed into the path of Redmond by the Walsall keeper, as Latics' playmaker simply stroked the ball home from 12 yards.
Seven minutes later Latics almost made it 2-0 when Dicko raced down the right wing, cutting the ball back into the area for Ryan Meadows who had it stolen off his toe at the last second.
The visitors sent out some warning shot, with Reece Flanagan hitting the post, before Latics were forced into a change before the half an hour mark as Buxton limped off to be replaced by Under 18 full back Danny Leigh.
On 32 minutes a cross into the box caused havoc for Latics and pressure from Troy Hewitt on defender Josh Langley forced the ball over the line as Walsall equalised.
Moments later James McQuilken thumped the cross bar from range, with Matt Preston then making it 2-1 to the Saddlers as he fired through a melee of bodies to score from a corner.
The game was back level on 39 minutes when almost immediately Dicko was fed through the middle, giving the goalkeeper the eyes and tucking the ball away into the bottom left corner.
It seemed like Latics could start a fresh having got themselves level so quickly, but it took Walsall just two minutes to regain their lead when Keiron Morris was released down the left to fire across the keeper for his first of the game.
After half time Morris extended Walsall's lead with his second of the match as he was allowed into the area and simply curled the ball around his marker and under the goalkeeper's body.
On 58 minutes half time substitute Matthew Hamilton had a golden chance to pull it back to 4-3 when a ferocious Dicko shot was parried into his path, but he couldn't sort out his feet quick enough and instead side foot volleyed the ball over the bar.
It was 5-2 to Walsall on 67 minutes with the goal of the game as Flanagan, Morris and Ben George played some neat one-touch passing football, before Flanagan released over-lapping full back George into the area to squeeze the ball beyond the goalkeeper.
Latics were keen to push hard and force the issue, with Guillermo Andres coming close on two occasions, first almost chipping the Walsall 'keeper from the half way line and then scuffing a glaring close range chance inches wide from a Dicko cut back on the by-line.
A third goal for Latics did eventually come as Dicko beat the offside trap to latch onto Redmond's pass through the middle, with the French forward easily slotting the ball home.
Time ran out for a come back as Latics lost for the first time this season, ending their three game winning streak as they conceded their first goals of the campaign.
Latics: Trialist, Buxton (Leigh 33), Wilson, Langley, Kiernan, Meadows, Johnson, Ainscough (Hamilton 45), Dicko, Andres, Redmond
Unused subs: Trialist, Cosgrove
Walsall: Roberts, Purkiss, George, Flanagan, Preston (Christopherou 64), Holden, McQuilken, Heath, Hewitt (Rush 70), Gray, Morris
Unused subs: Jones, Griffiths