Professional Youth Cup: Preston North End 1-4 Wigan Athletic
Preston North End 1-4 Wigan Athletic
Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup final
Saturday 5th May
Christopher Park Training Ground
Goalscorers: Roberts (12), Fensome (33), Baningime (41), Gelhardt (82), Maffeo (90)
Two late goals sealed an emphatic victory for Wigan Athletic, who beat Preston North End to lift the Professional Youth Cup.
The Latics, who had only won the competition once before in 2014/15, took an early lead through Brad Roberts, and reclaimed the advantage before half time via Divin Baningime, after Lewis Fensome had equalised for PNE.
Five-time winners North End fought to get back into the match during the second half but substitutes Joe Gelhardt and Victor Maffeo wrapped up victory for Wigan during the final 10 minutes of the match.
Roberts’ early goal was well-taken by the defender, who guided an angled finish from inside the box past North End keeper James Cottam.
Wigan, drawn as the away side but playing on familiar territory with their academy training ground the selected venue, enjoyed the better of the chances during the first half hour.
PNE soon grew into the game and went dangerously close to an equaliser through Connor Simpson, whose low effort was deflected just past the post.
They did get their leveller from the resulting corner, however, with Fensome on hand to guide the ball home.
But just four minutes from the interval, Wigan were in front once more.
Mwiya Malumo played in Baningime, who finished smartly from inside the area and got injured in the process, although he was able to continue.
Jerome Jolly and Tyrhys Dolan kept up the pressure for PNE right up until the half-time whistle, forcing Wigan keeper Jordan Perrin to block then save their double-chance.
They looked motivated to get back into the game after the break as the first clear-cut chance of the second half fell to Jolly, who called Perrin into action once more with a low shot.
Straight down the other end, Wigan then came close to extending their lead, as Mitchell Culshaw surged forwards into the box and took aim, but Cottam was wise to it and blocked it with his feet.
As the game went on, Jolly had a couple more attempts for PNE, heading over the bar and seeing a shot deflected.
Yet it was Wigan who struck again, Maffeo playing in Gelhardt in a quickly-taken free kick, allowing the substitute to confidently stride into the box and find the bottom corner.
Fensome then hit the side netting for North End before Maffeo made it four for the Latics, reacting quickest to the rebound from his initial blocked shot to steer the ball past Cottam and wrap up the Cup for his side.
Preston North End: Cottam, Ngongo, Campbell (Armer, 64), Baxter (C), Day, Fensome, Walker (Pollard, 52), Simmons, Simpson, Dolan, Jolly
Subs not used: Earl, Lenton, Nolan
Wigan Athletic: Perrin, Golden, Roberts, Plant, Hilton, McGuffie (Gelhardt, 46), Culshaw, Downey (C), Malumo, Jolley (Weir, 46), Baningime (Maffeo, 53)
Subs not used: Berry, Smith