Date:Tuesday March 4 2008
A week is a long time in football and after last weeks excellent performance from a strong reserve side this week saw a young team totally outclassed by an experienced Sunderland side in a 1-4 loss at the Robin Park Arena.
Ryan Taylor started in the centre of midfield lasting 60 minutes in what was a good work out for match fitness but contributed little in terms of class.
Latics who played 4-5-1 with the young Mc Caughtrie up front, were on the back foot from the first minute, with a young defence of 17 year olds plus Figueroa hard pressed to keep out the lively front two of Stokes and Prica.
All Latics had to offer was a long distance shot from Montrose which was punched away for a corner and a swerving run from Figueroa in which he beat four men, was felled and then was booked for diving!
Sunderland made their superiority tell as early as the tenth minute when Stokes rose unchallenged from a corner to head past the static Saunders.
In the 38th minute it was two nil a rasping shot from the edge of the area from Stokes was palmed by Saunders but the deflection wasn`t enough to keep the ball out of the net.
Latics were at sixes and sevens and it got worse in the 44th minute when Prica shot through a crowded penalty area to make it three nil.
Latics replaced the ineffectual Bouazoun at half time with the lively Mahon but surprisingly kept to the same formation.
The second half was a dull affair with Sunderland dominating affairs with Latics showing a lot of effort but being too easily out muscled.
In the 75th minute young Craig Mahon who looked the sharpest player on the pitch broke and shot the ball striking a Sunderland hand but no penalty was awarded
Three minutes later Mahon again broke, drew the defence and past out wide to Cwyka who cleverly beat the advancing keeper to make it 3-1.
Latics pressed on looking for a second but from a corner Prica rose unchallenged and headed the ball in to make the final score 4-1
All in all a disappointing night, good performances were rare from the Latics players but special mention to Mahon who looked sharp.
Taylor`s return will be welcome one to the first team squad but I have to ask why squad players such as Skoko, Hagen and Aghahowa weren`t given a run out for match fitness ?
Date:Tuesday March 4 2008
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