Wigan Athletic starlets 'will be better for Old Trafford trip'

Sean McGurk scores for Latics at Old TraffordSean McGurk scores for Latics at Old Trafford
Sean McGurk scores for Latics at Old Trafford | jpimedia
'This is only the beginning' - that was the message from manager Peter Murphy after his Wigan Athletic Under-18s pushed Manchester United all the way in the FA Youth Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.

Backed by an incredible travelling support of around 2,500 Wiganers, Murphy saw his side fight back from going a goal down to equalise through Sean McGurk before the break.

And after falling behind to what proved to be the winning goal shortly after the restart, Latics dominated the second period but were unable to haul themselves level for a second time.

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The standing ovation the team - and staff - received at the full-time whistle underlined what a superhuman effort had been put in, leaving Murphy to reflect on an emotional night for everyone connected to the club.

"What a support!" Murphy acknowledged. "I didn't expect there to be that many, but it's all appreciated by the staff and the lads, that's why we went over before the game and after the game.

"We're all made up that they came out to support us like that, it makes you feel so proud...pride is the only word for it.

"We're disappointed with the result, but I'm so proud of every single one of them and everyone on the staff.

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"It's what we work hard all season for, to eventually come to places like this and play a game of football.

"At Under-18 level, it doesn't get much better.

"It was tough and it was a big occasion for the lads.

"We had an Under-16 out there in Alfie Devine, we're asking a lot of him at that age, and it was quite a young team on the whole.

"But the lads gave us absolutely everything they had in their legs.

"Unfortunately we couldn't get that final chance for us to stick away."

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On his goalscorer, Murphy enthused: "Sean was brilliant, he's been amazing.

"He had a slow start to his scholarship with an injury in the summer but, since he's been fit, he's got himself into the team and stayed there.

"He's so effective in games, he sets things up, he scores goals and he'll always do that because of his ability."

And Murphy says the season is far from finished, with other trophies within touching distance.

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"It would be nice now to go on and win the league and the Lancashire Cup," he added.

"There's still a lot to play for, this isn't the end of our season at all and we'll be better for this experience.

"Whatever the result, we'll be better for this game.

"There are plenty of games left for the lads across both age groups, and we've got to maximise our season and see what we can get out of it."