Manchester United test up next for Wigan Athletic starlets!

Wigan Athletic have the small matter of an FA Youth Cup quarter-final at Manchester United to look forward to after crushing Birmingham City 4-0 at Leyland on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 10:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 10:09 pm
Joe Gelhardt is mobbed after doubling the Latics lead

Peter Murphy's youngsters were head and shoulders above their Midlands opponents throughout at the headquarters of the Lancashire FA, and could easily have won by seven or eight.

After Latics went 2-0 up inside 12 minutes, it was only ever about damage limitation from the visitors.

Kyle Joseph opened the scoring on five minutes, with a firm header from his Scotland Under-19 team-mate Luke Robinson's corner.

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The lead was doubled seven minutes later when England Under-18 star Joe Gelhardt was fouled in the box, before picking himself up and rifling the resulting penalty into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Joseph then fired wide before Gelhardt and Robinson saw goalbound efforts hacked away from the Birmingham line.

Jensen Weir, another England Under-18 international, send over a wonderful 25-yard free-kick against the bar on the half-hour, before Joseph forced a fine save from the Birmingham goalkeeper off another Robinson cross.

Gelhardt did make it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time with a real goal of the season contender, bending the ball into the top corner from fully 30 yards.

And only an offside flag on the hour mark denied Joseph a second goal, again off Robinson's cross.

Gelhardt came agonisingly close to his hat-trick with 15 minutes remaining, only to see his shot almost split the post in two.

The rebound fell to Sean McGurk, who drilled home from 10 yards.

And Joseph again came close moments later, only to steer the ball wide off Gelhardt's pass.

The only downside of the night saw Gelhardt overstretch for a ball inside the last 10 minutes and immediately reach for his groin before being substituted.

But on the whole it was a thoroughly positive evening for the club - with the small matter of a trip to Manchester to look forward to in the next round.