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Kick off 11:00 (UK)

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20 April 2019 Venue Leyland County Ground Attendance

Kick off 11:00 (UK)

Preston North End
5 - 2
Wigan Athletic U18
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Match Previews

PNE U18 vs Wigan Athletic U18 Match Preview

17 April 2019

The youth team will make their penultimate outing of season on Saturday morning with the goal to lift the Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup trophy.

The young Lilywhites are set to face Wigan Athletic in the final of the regional cup competition, with an 11am kick-off at the Lancashire FA County Ground, Leyland, PR25 2LF and entry priced at £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.

Match Reports

Wigan Athletic U18 1 PNE U18 2

14 April 2019

The two sides last met as recently as last weekend, with North End earning a 2-1 victory at the Latics’ Christopher Park Academy training base, thanks to goals from Adam O’Reilly and Jacob Holland-Wilkinson.

However, Wigan were successful in the season-opening meeting between the teams back in August, triumphing 4-2 at UCLan Sports Arena, and were also on the right side of last season’s final in the same competition, that against the Lilywhites, too.

Nick Harrison is therefore wary of the test that Wigan, who were crowned North West Youth Alliance league champions just shy of a fortnight ago, will pose to his team.

“I’m sure everybody within the group will be looking forward to a cup final,” said the Academy manager. “It’s a great way to finish the season almost, the second to last game of the season, and hopefully we can put in a good performance like we did last Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be a good game, that’s what we come to expect when we play Wigan. The players have just got to make sure that they perform well and do everything they can to win the game, which is what we’ll be looking for on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a lot tougher [this time], but we’re more than capable of getting the result and putting in a good performance.”

Youth Team

Potts Shifts Focus To Cup Final

16 April 2019

Saturday’s win at Wigan was the last of North End’s youngsters’ seven-match unbeaten run, which has since been halted by a midweek defeat to Morecambe, with the Latics presented with their league title prize in front of the PNE scholars.

Harrison hopes that might provide an added incentive for his players, as well as looking back to the defeat his team suffered to the same opposition in last season’s final.

“We watched Wigan pick up the league trophy after the last game and hopefully that will be motivation for our players to make Wigan watch us pick the trophy up on Saturday.

“I think we were pretty young last year and that’s maybe an advantage this year that we’ve got players who have experienced that.

“I’m sure all of that will help, we’ve got some good players in our Academy and it’s just a great opportunity for them to show how good they are.”

Last year’s final was played at Wigan’s training ground, an alternative venue unable to be found due to a fixture backlog at the backend of last term for both teams, and although pleased this season’s showdown will be on neutral ground Harrison has urged his side to concentrate on the game itself.

“That’s what the players want to do – to play in front of a crowd, to play on a big stage. Youth football is all about experiences and opportunities and the players are certainly going to get that in abundance on Saturday.

“What they’ve got to do is play the game right way – play the game and not the occasion – and we’ll be working with the players to try to put in a good performance and win the game.”

For those unable to attend the game, we will have coverage on our social media channels including live text commentary on our Academy Twitter account @pnefcacademy so you can follow all of the action.

There will also be a match report to follow on PNE.Com as well as a full match replay and post-match interviews available on iFollow PNE later this weekend.

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Match Reports

Wigan Athletic U18 5 PNE U18 2

20 April 2019

A stunning strike apiece from Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter could not inspire the youth team to victory in their Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup final against Wigan Athletic, who lifted the trophy with a 5-2 victory at the County Ground at Leyland.

Two contentiously awarded penalties, both dispatched by Charlie Jolley, saw Latics lead before O’Reilly struck from range to reduce the deficit at the break.

Baxter then cancelled out Jensen Weir’s header after the interval with a goal from inside his own half, both efforts within six minutes of the second half restart, but it was a brace from Victor Maffeo inside the final quarter of an hour which ultimately gave Wigan the daylight to see out the win.

North End made six changes from their midweek trip to Morecambe with Jimmy Corcoran, Jack Armer, Jack Baxter, Adam O’Reilly, Ethan Walker and Tyrhys Dolan resuming their roles in the starting line-up.

The heavy rotation perhaps showed with Wigan having a handful of early chances as Mitchell Culshaw lashed a Jolley cross wide and Joe Gelhardt headed straight at Corcoran.

North End looked to be growing back into the contest, as Baxter’s wonderful outside of the foot pass played in Walker whose cross was cleared in the box, when Wigan took a 21st-minute lead.

Jolley won a penalty when he was brought down under Armer's challenge, although the foul could’ve gone either way in terms of free-kick or penalty, the challenge right on the edge of the box, before Latics’ No.9 sent his spot kick straight down the middle.

Louis Potts might have equalised before the second penalty was awarded, robbing Eneka Obi of possession just outside the box but shooting tamely for Bobby Jones to gather, but if the first spot kick decision was debatable, the second which against the Lilywhites was certainly harsh.

That came in the 28th minute when Jolley again raced down the left of the box, more running at Precieux Ngongo rather than the defender seeming to make any foul against the Wigan man, the referee nevertheless pointing to the spot, when Latics’ frontman this time shot low into the right corner.

However North End were able to halve the deficit not long afterwards courtesy of a wonderful long range O’Reilly strike. Baxter’s ball forwards was headed down and the second ball claimed by the Irishman, who took a touch and curled delightfully into the top right corner.

Latics should’ve extended their advantage again before the break from a pair of Culshaw crosses, Mackenzie O’Neil dragging wide before Gelhardt twice headed against the bar in the space of three seconds, just before Dolan had misdirected a header on the penalty spot from Walker’s cross.

The Lilywhites were much improved in the second half, but not before Jensen Weir restored Wigan’s two-goal margin. It came from a free-kick routine, Scott Smith’s diagonal ball headed across by Obi for the midfielder to direct a header into the right-hand corner of Corcoran’s goal.

However, yellow-clad North End cancelled that out immediately courtesy of Baxter’s improvisation from a free-kick. The second year scholar scored his tenth goal of the season from all of 60 yards, striking the ball from just outside the centre circle in his own half.

Nick Harrison’s team took momentum from that and before the hour might’ve equalised when Jerome Jolly’s cross found Louis Potts in the centre but he couldn’t keep his header down.

A couple of poor challenges on Walker went unpunished with North End countering, one from Obi in particular looking like a possible red – yellow instead the punishment.

But the game’s late opportunities fell Wigan’s way, with Gelhardt looking certain to have made it four on seven minutes when he turned into space in the box but placed over the bar.

However Latics did go two goals in front once again on 78 minutes, courtesy of a fine strike from Maffeo. The right back took down Smith’s curled pass down the right flank, drifted infield and fired into the bottom corner left-footed from 20 yards.

The right back was on the scoresheet again five minutes from time, curling again from outside the box and into the bottom corner, this time from a free-kick, and despite some decent nice work from O’Reilly and substitute Joe Rodwell-Grant looking to muster something for North End late on, there was too much work to be done, as Wigan lifted the trophy following a 5-2 win.

PNE line-up: Corcoran; Ngongo, Earl, Armer, Coulton; O’Reilly, Baxter; Walker (Pollard, 77), Dolan (Nolan, 85), Jolly (Rodwell-Grant, 74), Potts. Subs not used: Williams, Lenton.

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