Notts County 1 Wigan Athletic 2

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Youngster Callum Lang came off the bench to lay-on the equaliser and then score the winner as Paul Cook’s Wigan Athletic recorded their first victory of pre-season at Notts County.

The first hour of the game had been tough going again for Cook’s men, with Lewis Alexander’s 15th-minute goal having given the home side the lead.

But Cook’s decision to throw on five substitutes for the last half-hour turned the game on its head.

On 64 minutes, Lang raced through the right-hand channel, and his driven cross was diverted into his own net by County captain Richard Duffy.

Five minutes later Lang was in the right place at the right time on the far post to convert a pinpoint cross from Noel Hunt - appearing as a trialist - to secure the away win.

For most of the game, though, Latics again struggled to convert their possession into meaningful attacks on the County goal.

And they were almost made to pay at the end when County’s impressive right-back Matt Tootle twice advanced into shooting range, sending one effort just over and seeing Christian Walton keep out the other with a fine stop.

David Perkins had become Wigan’s third different captain in three pre-season friendlies, and his early cross was headed only just over by Gavin Massey.

Alex Gilbey saw another effort well held by County goalkeeper Adam Collin, before Wigan’s bright start was stopped well and truly in its tracks.

Terry Hawkridge it was who created the danger from the right, and his cross was finished with aplomb at the far post by Alexander.

It was almost 2-0 within a minute, only for Walton to move quickly to stop Shola Ameobi’s powerful shot.

At the other end, a nice cross from Sam Morsy was met by the head of Michael Jacobs, but the header was always too high and landed on the roof of the net.

As half-time approached, Jacobs saw another effort deflected just wide, with Gilbey seeing another couple of goalbound shots well blocked.

Latics boss Cook will have been unhappy about his side’s lack of cutting edge, and the visitors almost gave themselves a mountain to climb within four minutes of the restart.

County thought they had a second goal, but Ameobi was penalised for barging into Jordan Flores well before he headed home from close range.

That was how it stayed until the hour mark, when Morsy, Gilbey, Massey, Chey Dunkley and Omar Bogle were replaced by Josh Laurent, Terell Thomas, Josh Burgess, Lang and Hunt.

And the switch reaped instant dividends with Lang finding some space down the right, and seeing his cross bundled into the back of the net off the unfortunate Duffy.

And before County could dust themselves down, they were behind when Hunt this time wriggled free down the right, and he found Lang at the far post for the youngster’s first goal at senior level.

Another academy product, Chris Merrie, came on in the final quarter for Perkins, with the youthful Latics side having to withstand a determined onslaught from the home side.

County right-back Tootle fired inches over the bar after Jorge Grant’s free kick on the edge of the box had found its way to him.

Then, with six minutes to go, Tootle cut in from the right, before seeing his left-foot shot clawed out of the air by Walton.