HomeNewsThe Winner Takes It All

The Winner Takes It All

Jamie Jones penalty save gives Latics extra point in Checkatrade Trophy opener.



Sinclair-Smith (88)

Gilbey (63)

I spoke in the preview to the game about the now farcical format of The Checkatrade Trophy and we got to see it in full flow last night after a much changed Latics side were held to a 1 all draw in the 90 minutes last night after Fin Sinclair-Smith's strike cancelled out Alex Gilbey's effort. Despite both picking up a point in Group B the match was decided by a penalty shootout in the new ABBA format from which Latics picked up another point after a 5-4 win.

I'm not really sure which part I find most farcical. That after 90 minutes we share the points but still go to penalties in what is essentially a league format, or that penalties are now taken in said ABBA format so that the team taking the second kick doesn't feel "under pressure".  Isn't that the whole idea of a lottery like the shootout? Who can handle the pressure the best and winning the toss to give yourself the best advantage? What next, a goal start for sides away from home or at the bottom when they face a side at the top? What a joke! A sport that has worked perfectly for centuries being fiddled about with by highly paid suits who have probably never kicked a ball. Just leave it alone.

Anyway, on to the game. After both sides made 11 changes and Latics named a bench containing 7 players that had never made a single start at senior level it was never going to be a classic. Neither side really got into their stride and aside from the odd chance at either end there wasn't too much to write home about. The deadlock was almost broken just before the hour mark when Scott Quigley's effort was superbly saved by Jones, but minutes later Alex Gilbey, one of the few recognisable players on the field, drove a low shot past Ben Williams to give the visitors the lead. That looked like being the only goal of the game, but in the 88th minute Blackpool youngster Fin Sinclair-Smith took his debut chance after a mistake from Luke Burke and calmly slotted home past Jones to send us to penalties.

Kicking second in the new format, Latics went 2-1 ahead through Max Power and Alex Gilbey whose effort hit the bar before crossing the line but then Blackpool could only level after their two penalties as Max Clayton fired his kick wide. 16 year-old academy graduate Victor Maffeo and the slightly older Noel Hunt had put Latics within one goal of victory but James Barrigan fired wide with the 5th kick of the initial set to send us to sudden death. Latics would now take first (what did they say about pressure) and after Josh Laurent had calmly scored his penalty it was down to the Blackpool hero Sinclair-Smith to keep them in tje game but the debutants penalty was saved by Jones to earn Latics an additional point from the night and take them top of the group with Accrington and Middlesbrough U23s yet to play.


Cockney Latic Man of the Match: Alex Gilbey
Attendance: 1,532 (622 Wigan fans)
  Williams   Jones
  Mellor   Burke
  Hartley   Thomas
  Taylor   Daniels
  Anderton   Perkins
  Delfouneso   Power
  Des Pres   Merrie
  D'Almeida   Gilbey
  Philliskirk   Burgess
  Clayton   Laurent
  Quigley   Lang
  Boney   Perrin
  Gnanduillet   Hunt
  Sinclair-Smith   Barrigan
  Roach   Whitehead

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