Youth team midfielder Adam O’Reilly felt Wigan Athletic’s clinical finishing was the difference between them and Preston North End’s youngsters on Saturday, as the Latics emerged from UCLan Sports Arena with a 3-0 victory.
Despite being among the top scoring sides in the North West Youth Alliance this term, both North End and Wigan were limited to fewer chances than usual in the match, although the visitors took their opportunities well.
And after conceding early in the first-half and then twice after the interval to the Latics, O’Reilly felt that ruthless touch in front of goal was the key separator between the teams in the game.
“I don’t think we were good enough today,” the 16-year-old admitted to PNE.com. “It was obviously our first game back after the winter break and we had been doing well in training, but you need the results in the games, that’s the most important thing that we have to go out and do.
“In the first-half, we had to work out the way they were playing, and we did start to do that. If they are pressing, we have to adapt to the way that they are playing so that we can still go out and play our way.
“We had maybe three or four chances in the first-half and in the second-half we had more again, so we just have to keep working on our finishing so we can put the ball in the back of the net.
“Wigan were a very good team today but in the second-half we started to dominate, we just couldn’t put our chances away when we got them.”
Although disappointed by this result, O’Reilly is already looking ahead to the next game, a Youth Alliance Cup quarter-final tie away to Rotherham United, and is confident the team can bounce back by working on aspects of the game including decision making and finishing.
“This game is done now, we just need to leave it behind and move on to next week. We will look back on the game and see what we need to improve on and hopefully, in the next game, we can get the result, and I’m confident that we will.
“We were making some wrong decisions and we need to be better at that. When a situation comes up in a game, you just have to know and be aware of what is and isn’t on – having that awareness, getting used to looking over your shoulder and knowing where the ball is going before you get it.
“From the game today, taking our chances is a very important thing for us to be working on, so that will be one of the biggest things we will be working on. As it is the New Year and we’ve finished our winter break, it’s also just about getting back into the swing of things.
“I think we will put things right, there’s a lot of different players who have scored our goals – it hasn’t just been one or two players, it’s been a lot of players in the team and that’s a good thing for us.”