An article submission from: Daniel Stacey
An unbeaten Wigan Athletic secured a memorable win against Category A side Wolverhampton Wanderers under the lights at Molineux to progress to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, where they will face Hull City.
Two excellent first half goals from Divin Baningime and Charlie Jolley gave Wigan the victory, despite a brief scare in the second half when Austin Samuels pulled one back for the home side immediately after the restart.
After a fairly subdued first 20 minutes Wolves had the first chance, with left wing-back Kevin Berkoe firing high and wide following a whipped cross from Samuels. Chances were few and far between for the Latics despite being well in the game, until after 31 minutes lovely interchange between England youth international Joe Gelhardt and Luke Robinson saw the latter’s pull back fired into the top corner on the half volley by Baningime. Wolves’ bad luck continued when captain Taylor Perry was taken off on a stretcher following a full-blooded challenge with Harry Jolley.
The visitors had their tails up after the opener and could have extended their lead soon after when the usually prolific Charlie Jolley saw his fierce effort rebound off Jackson Smith’s right-hand post. However joint top scorer Jolley did not let the miss affect him 3 minutes later, when he confidently dispatched a low effort following more good work from strike partner Gelhardt, which saw the young Latics go into the break two goals to the good.
Despite the momentum Wigan were building up after a strong end to the first half, Wolves came out for the second half and grabbed a goal back when Austin Samuels capitalised on pinball in the Wigan box to fire past Bobby Jones and swing the pendulum in Wolves’ favour.
However, a turning point in the game came on 53 minutes when Chem Campbell was dismissed following a poor challenge on right-back Jolley.
Latics then began to take control of the game, with Emeka Obi, Joe Gelhardt and substitutes Mitchell Culshaw and Kyle Joseph all having opportunities to extend the away side’s lead. Despite these missed chances the Wigan defence stood strong at the other end, and Will McGuffie partnering the excellent Jensen Weir in centre midfield controlled the game throughout. The latter proved his youth international class with a superb performance.
So Wigan’s Under 18’s are now 20 games unbeaten in all competitions, and with some of the performances on show at Molineux it surely won’t be long before we see some of these starlets making the step up to the first team.