Goals from Jack Phillips and Sam Cosgrove book Wigan Athletic's place in the Final Third Development League Cup final with a 2-0 victory over Hartlepool United.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0
With their second cup semi-final in five days, the Development Squad booked their place in the Final Third Development League Cup final with a 2-0 victory against Hartlepool United, meaning their hopes for a treble remain on course.
Having progressed into the LFA Senior Cup final last week with victory over Bolton Wanderers, goals from Jack Phillips and Sam Cosgrove set up a FTDL Cup meeting with Mansfield Town.
Phillips' well taken close range effort gave his side the lead in the first half, with half time substitute Cosgrove putting the game beyond Pools with just 11 minutes remaining.
Peter Atherton made two changes from his Latics side that progressed to the Lancashire FA Senior Cup final last Thursday, with Jack Phillips and Patrick Antelmi replacing Guillermo Andres and Ryan Jennings.
Latics' typical attacking style was clear to see from the first whistle and within one minute, Joey Johnson took on the left full back, before lashing a right footed effort across Hartlepool goalkeeper Jonathan Barber as the ball whistled past the left post.
Just five minutes in and Latics were at it again, this time with Luke Ainscough trying his luck from distance, before the returning Antelmi fired a left footed effort narrowly wide of the foot of the right post.
With chances building, Latics took the lead on 11 minutes with the move of the first half. Danny Leigh overlapped down the right, playing the ball inside to Joey Johnson who in turn fed Antelmi down the right side of the area, the shot was on for the Australian striker, but instead he cut the ball back into the area for Jack Phillips to control and hammer home from close range.
Luke Ainscough should have doubled Latics' lead soon after, another expressive piece of play led to the chance as Antelmi's shot across the keeper was parried into the path of Ainscough arriving on his own, but his side footed effort cannoned down off the underside of the crossbar.
Johnson tried to follow in the rebound, but Hartlepool held out to deny what looked like an inevitable second for the hosts.
The rest of the second half past without incident, to Hartlepool's credit they upped their efforts, but chances were not created and the back four of Michael Wilson, Juan Carlos Garcia, Mayowa Balogun and Danny Leigh held strong to keep their side ahead until the break.
Latics continued to look a threat on the attack, but the Pools' defence also improved.
In the second half the visitors came out with belief, forcing Latics back in the opening stages.
Despite putting pressure on the defence, Hartlepool failed to create clear-cut chances, and it was down to Latics to produce the nearly moments.
Joey Johnson's in-swinging free kick from the right wing flew past the left post, before Danny Leigh's cross was almost converted by Tim Chow, only for Hartlepool to clear off the line.
Latics were made to work to keep their lead as the half progressed, with Leigh clearing a goal mouth scramble, and Hartlepool right back Jordan Richards sliced a volley narrowly wide of the top right corner.
Hartlepool's best chance fell to Greg Rutherford, but despite a strong sprint through the middle, he decided to try and take the ball around the on-rushing Marko Marosi, but his heavy touch tool the ball to the by-line and to an impossible angle from which he was eventually crowded out.
With the pressure on Latics to defend their slender lead, substitutes Jordan Flores and Sam Cosgrove combined to give their side breathing space.
Flores' direct wing play down the right exposed the left full back and the quality of his floated cross was perfect for Cosgrove to head down into the ground and past Jonathan Barber to grab his first goal for the Development Squad, sealing Latics' place in the Final Third Development League Cup final against Mansfield Town.
Latics: Marosi, Leigh, Garcia, Balogun, Wilson, Meadows, Phillips (Flores 74), Ainscough (Poole 65), Antelmi (Cosgrove 46), Chow, Johnson
Unused Subs: Lambert, Hamilton
Hartlepool: Barber, Richards, Carr, Hawkins, Jones, Rowbotham, Rutherford, Taylor (Green 65), Wood (D.Armstrong 56), J.Armstrong, L.Armstrong (Smith 60)
Unused Subs: Wright, Provett