'Fantastic achievement' as Wigan Athletic Under-18s reach national showpiece

Under-18s coach Kieran Driscoll hailed 'a fantastic achievement' after his Wigan Athletic starlets booked their place in the Professional Development League Play-Off Final against Charlton Athletic.
Harry McHugh converts the winning penalty against IpswichHarry McHugh converts the winning penalty against Ipswich
Harry McHugh converts the winning penalty against Ipswich

Latics pipped Ipswich Town after extra-time at Christopher Park on Saturday to reach the national showpiece - underling the incredible work being done behind the scenes, which points to a bright future for the club.

After Tom Costello's second-minute effort was cancelled out by an Ipswich equaliser at the beginning of the second period, Harry McHugh converted a penalty with 107 minutes on the clock.

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"It's a fantastic achievement," gushed Driscoll. "The lads have done great, and we're over the moon as a group to have an opportunity to go and compete in a national final.

"The lads have done ever so well. We knew we were going to be up against a really tough team but I think, overall on the day, we were the better team and deserved to progress into the final.

"I think when the game went into extra time, that's when we knew that they were going to find it the toughest, and the one circumstance they wouldn't have wanted to happen.

"We knew they would have a little bit of a second wind, but I felt we started to get a foothold in the game, got on top, and put them under good pressure.

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"I felt getting that penalty in the second half in extra time was a credit to the lads for how well they built up that momentum across the course of the game."

Regarding next week's final against Charlton, Driscoll added: "It will be a normal week for us. We won't treat it as any different from any other game.

"We will make sure we will get the boys in next week for recovery, and then we'll plan to play Charlton.

"We will prepare in the same manner that we have done all season, and we'll look to go and improve our performance and hopefully win the final."

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Academy chief Gregor Rioch was quick to voice his delight, tweeting: "Another great result against an outstanding Ipswich team. Looking forward to the final versus Charlton Athletic next week."

Head of Academy coaching Matt Williams added: "So proud of these lads, into a National Final at this level for the first time! Fair play to them."

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