LATICS picked up a morale-boosting victory as they swept aside Wolves’ Under-21s 4-0 in their EFL Trophy opener.

Harry Kewell made a handful of changes, including handing a full debut to second-year scholar Ben Hough, and saw his side react after three straight defeats without scoring.

While the victory looks comfortable on paper, three of the goals came in six minutes late in the piece on Tuesday night at Boundary Park.

Conor McAleny helped himself to two goals with Bobby Grant also on target, Danny Rowe having given the hosts the lead late in the first half against the Molineux prospects.

“The way the season was set-up it was smart for us to play a strong team,” said Kewell. 

“We have to get used to the Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday.

“I think that the way we approached it was excellent, the way the team worked was excellent.

“I’m happy. It’s a cup competition and you want to progress. You want to win every game and build that winning mentality so I’m pleased.”

The game only went ahead once Latics had checked EFL protocols surrounding Covid-19, Latics’ opening League Two opponents Leyton Orient having been forced to cancel their Carabao Cup meeting with Tottenham after some positive tests in their squad.

Rowe took his goal well three minutes before the interval, exchanging a one-two with Jordan Barnett, on his full Latics debut, inside the penalty area before dropping a shoulder and firing home beyond Joe Young in the Wolves goal.

Hough went close himself in the second half before the late flurry of goals made the final scoreline a flattering one.

Grant was on target five minutes from time, taking Davis Keillor-Dunn’s pass before moving inside and scoring from 25 yards with an unstoppable effort.

McAleny got his first of the night three minutes later, seeing his first effort saved by Young before converting the rebound.

His second came in the first minute of stoppage time, the striker appearing to divert Grant’s cross home with his shoulder to ensure it was job done for Kewell’s side.

“We needed to score some goals, we needed to produce some quality in the final third and I definitely got that from my team,” the Australian, who was celebrating his 42nd birthday, said. 

“The start of the game was little bit edgy.

“Fair play to Wolves, they’re a young team who play the right way and it’s a shame because they did deserve something but I knew if we played on the front foot, if we were aggressive, you stop that Under-21 style of football and they’ve got to adjust and they kind of go blank.

“We dominated that part of the game and went from strength to strength. I just wish we’d scored that little bit earlier.”

Oldham, who welcome Crawley to Boundary Park in League Two on Saturday, are next due to be in EFL Trophy action on Tuesday, October 6, when they host Colchester United.