- Latics' Under 18s off to winning start.
- Under 16 striker Lang on the scoresheet.
- Atherton happy with clean sheet.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Latics opened their 2014/15 Youth Alliance season with a victory, as Under 16 striker Callum Lang provided the solitary goal in Saturday's 1-0 win against Rochdale.
An impressive defensive display rounded off a successful morning at Christopher Park, however, goalkeeper Owen Evans did receive his marching order when he handled the ball outside the area and saw a red card.
Lang's goal came from a flowing team move, when Alex Cvetkovic's telling pass behind the left full back allowed Louis Robles to pull wide on the right and slot the ball across the area for Lang to side foot home at the far post.
Latics carved out plenty of chances in the first half, with a goal mouth scramble seeing four attempts repelled by Rochdale's defensive, one of which cannoned down off the under side of the cross bar from close range.
A home victory was secured, but not after a late scare when a miscommunication at the back saw Evans race out to clear, only for a headed back pass to catch him out, with the young keeper handling outside the area to see a red card.
Defensively Peter Atherton's side were solid, improving as a group from pre-season, but after the game he did admit the team could have made things a little bit more comfortable had they taken their chances.
"The clean sheet and win are a great way to kick off the season. We created a lot of chances and probably could have made things a bit more simple, but the main thing to focus on his how well we did defensively.
"We created a good foundation, and the players have a much better understanding in defensive transitions."
Latics: Evans, Burke, McNally, Balogun, Harrison, Cvetkovic, Purzycki, Gregory (Merrie 81), Barrigan, Robles, Lang (Redmayne 75(Keane 89)
Unused subs: Baxendale, Anson