Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell both completed 45 minutes in today's Final Third Development League Cup game as Guillermo Andres scored the goal in Wigan Athletic's 1-0 victory against Morecambe.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Guillermo Andres' 88th minute strike saw Latics comfortably through to the Final Third Development League Cup semi-finals as Group C winners, helped along the way by the returns to action of first teamers Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney, the latter playing his first game since September, following surgery on a hip injury and extensive rehabilitation.
The Scottish duo both played 45 minutes in a strong Latics outfit which also included the likes of Thomas Rogne, Markus Holgersson, Rob Kiernan, Lee Nicholls and Fraser Fyvie.
Latics pushed hard throughout the game with multiple near misses in a solid display, until Spanish striker Andres thumped in the game's only goal with two minutes remaining.
Maloney's return to action almost burst into life within just five minutes, when Caldwell's expert distribution found the diminutive number 10 sneaking in behind the Morecambe defence, but to the Shrimps' credit they closed in and sounded him out just in time.
A minute later Ryan Jennings darted through the middle, latching onto the end of another Caldwell pass, but one-on-one the winger fired wide of the left post.
Latics were hoping not to rue such missed chances, but as the game progressed Morecambe made a fist of it and a real competitive edge was added.
It was a comfortable performance at Christopher Park, and although technically an away fixture for Latics due to a re-arrangement in venue on behalf of Morecambe, the scheduling did nothing to confuse the action on the pitch.
An impressive Maloney and a solid Caldwell departed at half time to be replaced by Matthew Hamilton and Michael Wilson, but it took another 43 minutes of football before Latics finally broke the deadlock.
Attacking down the right hand side, a combination of Jack Phillips and right back Wilson found Andres on the edge of the area, and with a cute step-over, space opened up for him to thump in the winning goal.
Latics have now booked themselves into the semi-final of the FTDL Cup, replicating the first team's achievements on Sunday against Manchester City.
Morecambe: Arestidou, Edwards, Bell, McGee, Doyle, Diagne, Dunleavy, McCready, Watson, Williams, Marshall
Subs: Kitchen, Holness, Lewis, Bailey, Woods
Latics: Nicholls, Rogne, Garcia, Caldwell (Wilson 45), Holgersson, Kiernan, Phillips, Fyvie, Andres, Maloney (Hamilton 45), Jennings (Antelmi 75)
Unused subs: Chow, Meadows