Exeter City under-18s suffered a 2-0 loss in the Youth Alliance Cup final at St James Park despite a battling second-half performance.
The Grecians, who had beaten Swindon Town, Bristol Rovers, Northampton Town and Southend United to get to the final, were up against a Wigan Athletic side going for the treble having won their league and the Lancashire Cup before reaching Monday’s final.
And in front of a crowd of more than 300, it was the visitors who started the better and took the lead in the third minute when Charlie Jolley latched onto a through ball from Victor Maffeo to round keeper Felix Norman and put the ball into an unguarded net.
However, City responded well to the early set back as Charlie Lawrence created a few problems down the left and Jack Stafford had a low cross cleared at the near post.
Back came Wigan though, and when Jolley battled hard to win the ball back in the City penalty area he was bundled over in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Jolley took the penalty but this time though Felix Norman was equal to his effort, diving to his right and pushing his effort to safety.
A sliced clearance from the Wigan keeper then gave Lewis Wilson a sight of goal but he couldn’t direct his effort, from the touchline, on target.
Then, with two minutes to go in the first half, Wigan extended their lead as a corner to the near post found the untracked run of Jolley and he side foot the ball into the net.
City were much better after the break though, and had the majority of possession and territory.
The best chance fell for Cheick Diabate in the 70th-minute when a free-kick was whipped into the six-yard box. The defender connected with the cross but couldn’t keep his effort down and it went over the crossbar.
However, apart from that chance, the Grecians failed to find the cutting edge in the final third to really trouble Wigan and the Lancashire side held on for the victory.
Exeter City: Norman, Belsten, Stafford (Iseguan, 45), Morgan, Dyer, Diabate, Lawrence, Dean, Simpson, Wilson (Stansfield, 67), Clark. Subs not used: Veale, Arthur, Moyse.
Wigan Athletic: Jones, H Jolley, Robinson, Obi, Long, Smith, Culshaw, Maffeo, C Jolley, Joseph, O’Neill. Subs not used: Tickle, Galvin (O’Neill, 86), Broe, Isherwood, McGee.